Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface – Designed to promote healthy alignment of the head, neck and spine, most people find pillows to be an essential part of their sleep routine. However, some people claim that sleeping without a pillow can prevent wrinkles, improve hair texture and even cure neck pain. Although research is still limited, some studies suggest that sleeping without a pillow has its benefits.

Before you eliminate the pillow from your sleep routine, it’s important to note that not everyone benefits from sleeping without a pillow. Some positions are more suitable for sleeping without a pillow than others, and it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your sleep pattern.

Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

We’ll discuss who benefits most from sleeping without a pillow and share tips for transitioning to a flat surface when necessary.

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Although research is limited, anecdotal reports show that sleeping without a pillow can help reduce neck and back pain for some sleepers. Stomach sleepers are generally better suited to go without a pillow, as the lower neck angle promotes better spinal alignment in this position.

Some people also claim that sleeping without a pillow can benefit skin and hair, but more clinical studies are needed to evaluate these claims.

Each sleeping position affects posture differently, so a pillow may not be necessary for certain sleeping positions.

Stomach sleeping requires the sleeper to turn their head to one side, which puts pressure on the neck. Adding a pillow risks putting the neck at an even sharper angle, which is why many stomach eaters feel comfortable sleeping without a pillow.

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Side and back sleepers often need a pillow to maintain proper spinal alignment. Sleeping on your side leaves the biggest gap between your head and the pillow. Consequently, this position usually requires a higher ceiling pad to help maintain head, neck and spine alignment and avoid shoulder strain.

Sleeping on your back keeps your spine in place and puts less pressure on your neck, but leaves a small gap between your neck and the mattress. A medium loft pillow usually provides the right level of elevation when you sleep on your back.

Spending a long time in the same position during sleep can put pressure on certain parts of the body, such as the back and neck. Pillows are designed to minimize this pressure by supporting the head at a comfortable level that helps take pressure off the cervical area and align the spine.

Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

But in some cases, the pillow can have the opposite effect. Many stomach sleepers experience relief from neck and back pain from not using a pillow, as the mattress provides a flat surface that helps promote spinal alignment when lying face down.

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Less commonly, back sleepers using a soft mattress may find that the mattress already allows the body to settle into a comfortable position where the head and neck are higher than the weight-bearing midsection. In this case, adding a pillow can tilt the head up too much, increasing the pressure on the neck and upper back.

Research is still in the early stages, but some studies indicate a link between pillows and wrinkle formation. A pillow pressed directly against your face can cause more skin marks than lying on a bare mattress, which is also less likely to fit. Sleeping on your back is of course the most effective way to prevent wrinkles, as your face comes into minimal contact with a pillow or mattress. If you use a pillowcase, washing it frequently can help reduce acne.

There are also theories that pillows can damage your hair. Proponents of these theories argue that cotton pillowcases in particular create more friction and absorb oils meant to protect the hair. This may be more relevant for people who move frequently while sleeping.

To date, there is no research supporting the link between pillows and hair health. But if you think your pillow may be contributing to dry or frizzy hair or knots, switching to a softer silk pillowcase can help alleviate these symptoms without having to change your sleeping style.

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Clinical studies are lacking regarding the pros and cons of sleeping without a pillow, but there may be some downsides to consider before ditching the pillow. Pillows can benefit people with conditions such as heartburn or obstructive sleep apnea. They also help many sleepers maintain a healthier sleeping position and reduce back and neck pain.

For most sleepers, omitting the pillow can have a negative impact on the sleeping position. When a back sleeper lies on a flat surface, the head and neck can fall on a downward slope, causing pressure on the neck. Similarly, a side sleeper who doesn’t use a pillow can overextend their neck, making it nearly impossible to maintain neutral spinal alignment.

The exception is stomach sleepers, for whom sleeping with a very thin pillow or no pillow at all can align the head and neck with the rest of the spine, helping to reduce pain and tension.

Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

Without a pillow to support the head, side and back sleepers may experience stiffness or pain in the lower back or cervical spine. Neck pain referred from not using a pillow can also contribute to tension headaches.

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Even when stomach sleepers don’t use a pillow, neck pain isn’t necessarily inevitable. Turning your head to the side can create muscle stiffness with or without a pillow.

The idea of ​​suddenly sleeping on a flat surface may seem daunting, but there are ways to get off a pillow to make the adjustment easier:

If you wake up stiff and sore and suspect your pillow may be to blame, the first step is to determine if you’re using the right model for your sleep style. Choosing a different style of pillow may be a better solution for you than going without a pillow at all. If your pillow is more than a few years old, replacing it with a newer model can restore the support you need.

The side threshold works best with a relatively firm and thick pillow that can fill the space between your neck and shoulders. A pillow that is too thin may not keep your neck and head level with your spine, and a pillow that is too thick can be just as problematic if you tilt your head up at a very high angle. A second, thinner pillow between the knees can relieve back pain.

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Some side beds prefer cushions that can be folded in half for a higher ceiling. Adjustable pillows made from materials like shredded memory foam or buckwheat are also suitable, as sleepers can remove or add padding based on their height preference.

For back sleepers, a mid-height pillow helps keep the neck in the same plane as the spine. A pillow that is too thick can cause the neck to arch too far forward. Medium firm designs made from memory foam or latex are usually adequate as they prevent the head from dropping too far. Another option is to use a cervical pillow or place a rolled towel under your neck to fill this larger hole.

Some back sleepers find that placing a thin pillow under their knees or lower back can help relieve pressure on the lumbar spine.

Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

Stomach sleepers who don’t want to sleep without a pillow may find that a low, soft pillow design can facilitate healthy alignment. Flusher models made from alternate down or down fibers usually allow the head to rest closer to the mattress, helping to reduce neck strain. Conversely, higher or firmer pillows raise your head and neck at an uncomfortable angle.

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Combination sleepers can choose a pillow that combines two styles into one, such as a contour pillow with higher and lower zones for side and back sleepers.

Danny is a certified sleep science coach with a deep understanding of sleep health. Tried hundreds of mattresses and sleep products.

Dr. Wright, M.D., is an anatomic and clinical pathologist with a focus on hematopathology and has a decade of experience in disease research.

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Is It Better To Sleep On A Hard Surface

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Use of this quiz and any profile recommendations is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy). Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a daunting challenge. This also applies to those who also need to sleep with a CPAP machine.

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