It is very usual to ask if sleeping without a pillow is better than with it. Although for babies it is usually indicated that they do not sleep with a pillow (this is due to the fact that due to their size there is an important disproportion between their head and their body that makes their backs straight) as we become adults we increase our dependence on a support that slightly raises our neck.
The medical community indicates that, for adults, you can choose to sleep without a pillow in very few cases. Only in people sleep on their backs, move little in bed and have a very small physical complexion. For the rest, sleeping without a pillow would make our head hang slightly, tilting the neck and forcing an unnatural posture for many hours.
Why should not you sleep without a pillow?
The main factor that determines a good rest, is the correct alignment of the back and neck, which means that when the entire spine is put to bed (from the cervical to the back) it is straight as when we are standing, but without the weight pressure on the discs. For this, it will be necessary that to a greater or lesser extent we use some kind of support that slightly elevates the head and supports the neck.
On the other hand, the neck is an area of the body where a large number of muscles, joints, and ligaments converge, supporting a great pressure and where tensions accumulate in our daily routine. In order for these structures to relax during sleep, they must remain in a position as comfortable as possible. Using a good pillow will relieve pressure and cause these stresses to be released.
However, this does not mean that any pillow helps us. It is very important to know which pillow is the most suitable for our way of sleeping, physiognomy, and needs.
An incorrect pillow can be worse than sleeping without a pillow.
What we should consider when choosing a pillow
If You Sleep on Side
More than 75% of people over 20 sleep sideways. This position, also known as lateral or fetal ulna position, forces us to have an excess of pressure on the shoulders and hips, as well as a considerable increase in the height at which our head is with respect to the mattress. Having this height, our head tends to bend or dislodge our arm to make up that difference in height. This causes a deviation at the cervical level in our spine which is transmitted in cervical pain, the known torticollis, respiratory problems, etc. etc.
Sleeping with the correct pillow corrects these deviations, avoids excessive movements at night and relieves multiple pains derived from poor posture. In some cases, for this position, it is also recommended to place a soft pillow between the legs so that the position of the hip is corrected.
For those who sleep sideways, we leave you a trick to choose the right thickness of the pillow:
- Stand upright and sideways against a wall, so that the side of your shoulder is in contact with it.
- Look forward so that the neck is fully stretched and straight parallel to the wall.
- Use a meter to measure the distance between the wall and your ear.
- To the result, it will be necessary to add between 2 and 4 centimeters, depending on the hardness of the pillow you are going to choose.
If You Sleep On Your Back
For people who sleep on their backs or move around a lot during the night, a pillow of medium firmness and intermediate thickness is recommended.
If You Sleep stomach down
If you sleep on your stomach (something not recommended) it is best to use a soft and thin pillow, which does not force the neck to lean back.
In addition to the thickness and firmness, today, there are many materials, finishes and fabrics that enhance the qualities of a pillow. In this other article, we leave you a short summary that can help you when choosing your pillow.
Another factor that we have to take into account is the lifespan of our pillow. The pillow is one of the elements of our rest system that, erroneously, less tendency to change and that more harm can be for our rest, and therefore, for our health. With the passage of time, the use and washing, the pillows are losing their properties of firmness and adaptability. Therefore, it is advisable to renew them every 2 years.
Finally, one last reflection: on many occasions, we tend to buy the same set of pillows for our double bed, without realizing that each member of the couple has a different complexion. The advisable thing is that when we sleep in the company we use independent pillows and adapted to the needs of each one.