9 Top Benefits of Sleeping Without a Pillow

9 top benefits of sleeping without a pillow

If you have been waking up with pain in your neck, you may be wondering if the pillow is the problem and pondering if you might start sleeping without one. A lot of thought goes into the kind of mattress we use but we hardly as commensurate questions about pillows even though almost every one of us rests our heads on one. Well, if you suspect that the pillow you are using could be the cause of your neck pain, you will be glad to know that there are many benefits of sleeping without a pillow.

Using a pillow helps with body posture, spinal cord alignment, and comfort as you sleep. However, there are many people who do not use pillows but achieve the same things. This begs the question of whether pillows are essential or necessary for good sleep.

Sleeping without a pillow has been proven to have great health benefits including better skin, pain alleviation, better mood, and wellbeing.

The benefits of sleeping without a pillow:

1. Protects against acne and wrinkles

Sleeping without a pillow reduces the breakout or worsening of acne on your face. You will obviously rest one side of your face on the pillow during the night which exposes it directly to dirt, dust, and bacteria present on the fabric and thus aggravating the occurrence of acne.

Sleeping without a pillow reduces the breakout or worsening of acne on your face
Sleeping without a pillow reduces the breakout or worsening of acne on your face

Dirt and oil clogging the pores of your skin cause acne which can lead to inflammation and redness, swelling, and even infections. We may be the cleanest people but dirt and oil finding their way to the pillow is inevitable. Meanwhile, the saliva you drool while sleeping and nighttime sweating are bacterial contributors on the pillow.

Pillows also contribute to facial wrinkling because, depending on how you sleep, it can cause your facial skin to loosen or be asymmetrical which creases the skin. You can avoid early facial wrinkles by not using a pillow.

2. Back pain prevention and relief

You can actually get relief from the back pain bothering you by ditching that pillow. Using a thick pillow is a leading contributor to back pain and poor back posture while sleeping. Opting out of a pillow allows the body to take its natural spinal posture and curvature which is comfortable and prevents back pain.

Many people are unknowingly contributing to and experiencing back issues because of the pillows they use. We are more diligent when it comes to the type of mattress we use, but in fact, the question should be where is the best place to buy a mattress and pillow. We overstuff pillows, use the wrong pillow which along with a bad mattress cause us back pain.

3. Improved sleep quality

This may come as a surprise to you but not using a pillow improves the quality of sleep by rewarding you with more rest for longer. All the tossing and turning could be because of the pillow! Sleeping without a pillow is a cure or preventive measure against problems like insomnia and sleep disruption by waking up during the night.

The body will find the best sleeping posture without a pillow unlike the struggle for the right head and neck placement with a pillow. No strain on the neck on the shoulders means better, faster, and longer sleep. By not using a pillow, you allow the body to assume the most natural and comfortable posture.

4. Stress alleviation and prevention

I am sure you have probably experienced a bad night’s sleep and you know how stressful and annoying it can be for you the next day. Sleeping in the wrong position or struggling to get the right position interferes with sleep and makes you take a lot longer to fall asleep.

Stress alleviation and prevention
Stress alleviation and prevention

Additionally, the discomfort and strain caused when the pillow or mattress is uncomfortable and is usually stressful. You are exposed to stress as you sleep and stressed during the day because you are tired and have to cope with the effects of disrupted or insufficient sleep.

Alleviate and prevent stress by not using a pillow while sleeping. Stress leads to other problems and illnesses both mental and physical which can easily be avoided by opting for natural body support while sleeping.

5. Prevention of neck and shoulder strain and pain

How about that neck pain that got you here in the first place? Well, sleeping without a pillow is a quick solution for preventing neck and shoulder strain. Whereas a pillow is supposed to align the neck with the back or spinal cord, most often, this does not happen because of the wrong pillow or the way we sleep.

Who guarantees that your neck will stay aligned on the pillow as you sleep? Most of us will shift positions while sleeping which distorts the body alignment and curvature. If you do not use a pillow, your head will assume the most natural position for alignment with the spine and will not strain the surrounding muscles or nerves.

See also: Can You Sneeze in Your Sleep?

6. Energy boosting

Simply put, sleeping better and comfortably assures you of optimal rest and invigoration the body needs both mentally and physically. Sleeping without a pillow is an energy booster because it is the natural way of sleeping with minimal if not no sleep disruption. Minimal or no sleep disruptions helps you sleep better so that you replenish used up energy.

7. Improved memory

Better quality sleep equals better memory and sleeping without a pillow means better sleep! You can improve your memory by sleeping more comfortably- sufficient rest is a memory enhance when you are awake and active. The mind consolidates and compartmentalizes the information it is fed when we sleep so that it is ready for the next cycle of an information feed, and this has a linkage to memory.

You can improve your memory by sleeping more comfortably
You can improve your memory by sleeping more comfortably

8. Prevent and reduce morning headaches

Waking up with a headache is in most cases a sign of sleep deficiency and a lack of sufficient rest during sleep. Soft pillows are not good for blood flow to the neck, shoulder, and head which means less oxygen to the brain and mental fatigue which is manifested in the headaches felt in the morning.

Poor neck and head positioning or strains to those areas interfere with airflow and can cause health problems like sleep apnea and of course insufficient oxygen to the lungs and therefore the rest of the body.

9. Correct and natural body alignment and curvature

Get the most correct body alignment when sleeping by not using a pillow because the body will naturally align itself. Improve body posture and backbone structure by putting aside your pillow.

Read more: Why You are Experiencing Headaches from Lack of Sleep


As has been enumerated there are several benefits of sleeping without a pillow. However, this is not to say that using a pillow is bad and should be forbidden, there are different kinds of pillows out there to deal with all kinds of problems and designed for different sleep postures which are quite helpful if used correctly.

Those with certain injuries and health problems will no doubt need a pillow to rest and position their heads properly. People who assume certain positions while sleeping like those who sleep on their stomach have pillows for stomach sleepers which are very helpful.

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