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Sleeping Without a Pillow Good or Bad for Your Health

By Sleepsia

Natural is better. It’s how God intended it to be. That’s some of the basic beliefs supporting false claims that sleeping without a pillow is good for your health. It’s actually not, and in this post we’ll explain why.

When is sleeping without a pillow a Good Idea?

It’s a good idea only if you sleep on your stomach.

For both back and side sleepers, it’s disastrous.

Let me explain why.

Your pillow isn’t there to simply provide fluffiness. It’s main job is to align the spine and support the neck.

If your pillow doesn’t do either one, then your neck experiences a huge amount of pressure, which can later lead to development of chronic pain and disc herniation.

That’s why it’s important to use pillows.

When is a Pillow Necessary?

A pillow is necessary when you sleep on your back or side.

It’s because your spine isn’t properly aligned unless your neck is lifted up to a particular height.

When you sleep on your side or back without a pillow, your neck is extremely curved on one side or towards the back respectively. So you need to use a pillow to relieve pressure from your cervical spine.

Image: Correct alignment of neck to prevent neck pain.

Correct alignment of neck

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, sleeping on your stomach puts a lot of pressure on your spine, which is curved in a very unnatural manner. To reduce this curve, you should use a pillow that is very flat or sleep without a pillow.

Does sleeping without a pillow cure neck pain?

No, it doesn’t.

While it may provide relief to stomach sleepers, those with neck pain should aim to sleep on their side or back and use a pillow to alleviate the neck to a height at which the spine is properly aligned.

So only stomach sleepers should sleep without a pillow.

Both back and side sleepers should use a pillow to prevent and cure neck pain.

Is sleeping without a pillow good for your hair?

It doesn’t make a difference. If you don’t use a pillow, your hair will rub against the bedsheet. The friction will still cause damage to your hair and skin.

To prevent hair damage, you can use a soft pillowcase made of one of the following materials:

  • Silk
  • Satin
  • Egyptian Cotton
  • Bamboo

All these materials are soft and reduce friction against your skin and hair, minimizing the damage to them.

Tips for Stomach Sleepers

If you sleep on your stomach, then here are a few tips that you may find helpful:

  • Sleep without a pillow to reduce the upward curve in your cervical spine.
  • Place a pillow between your abdomen to reduce pressure from your lower back.
  • Change sleeping position if you regularly experience neck pain.


Just to reiterate, stomach sleepers can sleep without a pillow, while both back and side sleepers must use a pillow to align their spine and maintain the natural curve in the spine. Any extension in the spine can lead to development of neck pain, so use a pillow for the right height.