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Sleeping without a pillow



Last updated: 07.07.2021 4 Min.

Sleeping with a pillow seems like a no-brainer - but for some people, sleeping without a pillow is just as obvious a choice. According to the no-pillow fans, it just helps you sleep better. But is that true?

Actually, sleeping without a pillow is recommended for children under three as this reduces the risk of choking and deformation of the head and neck. But what about the rest of us? Should adults forego their beloved pillow?

In this article, we will explain the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping without a pillow.

Don't forget: the pillow debate is important but it's not the most important aspect of a good night's sleep. For that, you'll need a high-quality mattress that supports your entire body. You can definitely help you choose the right mattress. Also, take a look at our mattress reviews and mattress comparisons to help you pick the right one.

Sleeping without a pillow
  • Overview
  • Why you might sleep without a pillow
  • Sleeping position
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Conclusion


  • Allows you to sleep in a natural position
  • Reduces neck and back pain
  • May reduce headaches
  • Reduces the risk of allergies
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Saves money
  • Reduces pimples and blackheads


  • Not suitable for all sleeping positions
  • Depends on your preference and sleeping habits
  • May promote snoring

Why you might sleep without a pillow

People who believe in pillows will argue that sleeping without a pillow will cause a stiff neck. But this isn't necessarily true. When you sleep without a pillow, your body will seek a naturally comfortable position, meaning that you shouldn't be left with neck pain.

Sleeping with a pillow that is not adapted to your body or sleep needs may, in fact, cause neck pain and headaches. The right pillow will support your neck and prevent headaches. A good pillow will also improve blood circulation.

But a pillow that's worn, too large, too firm, or of poor quality will negatively affect your body. A cheap pillow may cause you to wake up at night and experience pains. Without proper support, a bad pillow can do more harm than sleeping without a pillow. Thus, if you can't find the perfect pillow, sleeping without a pillow may actually be a better solution.

Stacking several pillows under your head is also a bad idea. This misaligns your spine and can cause back pain, and sometimes even lead to long-term chronic pain. If you are experiencing this, then we'd recommend that you try sleeping without a pillow for a night and see if this helps reduce back and neck pain.

If you have acne-prone skin, sleeping without a pillow can also help reduce the appearance of pimples. As your skin is able to breathe better, toxins can be flushed more easily. This, in turn, can reduce acne.

Consider your sleeping position

If you're thinking about discarding your pillow, then you definitely need to consider your sleeping position. This affects the needs of your body and your spinal alignment, and different sleeping positions have different requirements. Ultimately, the most important thing is to keep your spine optimally aligned.

Sleeping on your side without a pillow

If you enjoy sleeping on your side, then we do not recommend sleeping without a pillow. Doing so will lead to pain in your cervical and dorsal areas.

If you sleep on your side, use a pillow or choose a neck pillow support your head and fill the hollow between your neck and the mattress. This will align your neck with your spine and relieve any pressure and pain in your neck and shoulders.

Sleeping on your back without a pillow

You can easily discard your pillow if you like to sleep on your back. However, sleeping this way makes snoring more likely. This is because your tongue blocks the passage of air when you breathe. So if you're sleeping with a partner, this may not be ideal.

While there are no medical disadvantages to sleeping without a pillow if you lie on your back, you have to consider your personal requirements and your partner's needs. If you snore and don't want to wake up your partner at night, then choose to rest on a pillow.

Sleeping on your stomach without a pillow

Sleeping on your stomach is the best sleeping position if you sleep without a pillow. Your neck will be well aligned with your spine and you won't be in any pain. You'll easily find a natural position. If you like, you can also use a small folded pillowcase to add a bit of height to sleep one.

That said, this isn't the best position to sleep in if you're a woman - and especially if you're pregnant. This sleeping position is also not recommended if you have respiratory problems.

What if you suffer from chronic neck pain?

If you suffer from severe neck pain, sleeping without a pillow is not recommended. In fact, if you have chronic pain, sleeping with a neck pillow is vitally important. Regardless of your preferred sleeping position, we suggest that you consult your doctor and invest in a high-quality pillow.

The tips in this article are for people without pains or those with minor neck, shoulder, and back pain. If you've been diagnosed with a chronic cervical disease or suffer from chronic pain, please consult your doctor to get the best medical advice.


Depending on your preferred sleeping position, sleeping without a pillow is not necessarily bad for your health. It depends entirely on your personal preferences and sleeping habits. If you suffer from back and neck pain, we'd recommend that you try sleeping without a pillow for a few nights to see how this affects your body. You may even find it beneficial.

If you prefer to sleep with a pillow, we highly recommend investing in a high-quality pillow to provide you with optimal support, relieve pressure points, and prevent neck, back, and shoulder pain. We highly recommend the Emma pillow.

Finally, be aware that a great pillow is not everything. To ensure a good night's rest, you must also invest in a good mattress and a high-quality box spring. If you need help, take a look at our mattress reviews and mattress comparisons. These sections will help you choose the best mattress for you.


Frequently asked questions

  • Our favourite pillow

    The Emma pillow is our favourite pillow. It measures 70x40 cm and consists of three layers. The first layer is a Hypergel foam, which provides the pillow's flexibility. The second layer is located in the centre of the pillow. It is firmer and provides counter-pressure to keep your neck in place at night. Finally, the third is a visco-elastic foam layer, which reduces pressure to help you sleep better.

    The Emma pillow offers very good support and fits the curvature of the neck perfectly, regardless of sleeping position.

    In addition, the advantage of this pillow is that it is height adjustable. The three foam layers can be removed or kept as is, allowing you to modify the pillow according to your preferences.

    This high-end pillow is also thermo-regulated. It regulates the humidity and temperature to ensure you experience cool nights at the ideal temperature.

    The Emma pillow is available at a low cost, is delivered free of charge, and can be tested for 100 nights. 




My mum calls me "bear" because I like to sleep so much. I never knew that, one day, that would be a very useful skill. Can you tell that I've found my calling? 

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