Is Sleeping Without A Pillow Bad for You?

Is Sleeping Without A Pillow Bad for You?

Pillows are more important than you think. It is an extension of your mattress. There might be a saying that a good enough mattress, such as Hesperis Mattress, eliminates the need for a pillow. 

Is that true?

Let's find out by looking at the potential drawbacks of sleeping without a pillow.

More pressure in the neck 

There is no absolute theory when it comes to whether sleeping with a pillow is more healthy, but there are drawbacks to consider before you discard your pillow. 

When a back sleeper lies on a flat surface, the head and neck may fall into a downward tilt, leading to pressure in the neck. Similarly, a side sleeper not using a pillow can overextend their neck, which makes maintaining neutral spine alignment nearly impossible.

The exception is stomach sleepers, for whom sleeping with a very thin pillow or none at all 

can level the head and neck with the rest of the spine, helping to reduce pain and tension.

Worsen the back pain

Without the support of a pillow, side and back sleepers might experience stiffness or worsen pain in the spine. Stomach sleepers might still experience neck pain when they turn their heads around.

The best pillow provides both comfort and support. It has the support for your spine and the comfort to cushion your head. For the support of a pillow, look at its height and firmness, for the comfort levels, look at its material mainly.

It’s also highly related to your body size. The width of your shoulders and the size of your head influences the ideal loft to keep your neck perfectly straight. 

Stomach sleepers

Stomach sleepers should choose a low-loft pillow to avoid unnatural curvature of the neck because the head is flexed forward. Some stomach sleepers might be comfortable with no pillow at all.

Stomach sleepers might seem like the most natural group to use a low-loft pillow or go pillow-free. However, they can’t keep the spine in alignment since they have to turn to one side or another to keep their airways clear. 

Not to mention that they have stress from the low back through their hips.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to keep the head as flat as possible and provide the support that allows for a cushioning of the head and ear as well as the top of your shoulders. 

Soft, thin, and malleable pillows, we have Morpheus Pillow in small size to suit that need, that uses down and feather, or shredded memory foam fills, are the most popular with stomach sleepers. Thin memory foam pillows that are more pad-like in feel and shape are also a great choice.

Stomach sleepers are limited to something less than 3 inches thick. Placing a single pillow below your head helps keep your spine as straight as possible. 

A small pillow that supports the sleepers facing down is ideal. To prevent unnecessary neck or back pain, we recommend switching to back or side sleeping for your concern. 

Side sleepers

The majority of us are siding sleepers, with approximately 70% of the population preferring to snooze this way. While many side sleepers use two pillows, they are better off finding one high-quality pillow that perfectly fills the gap between the shoulders and neck.

Side sleepers will find the most comfort in a medium loft pillow which allows them to sleep with their arms under their heads. A too-firm pillow that keeps the neck upright puts pressure on the face and jaw, which can lead to head and jaw pain.

Their pillow goal is to have the support that holds their head while filling in the gap left under their neck. Pillows should not be too firm but adjustable under the pressure from the shoulder.

It’s free to choose any fill type based on personal preference. Feather and shredded foam are of specific feel, while the memory foam gives contouring and support. We have discussed this topic extensively here

Something too soft or too firm can lead to headaches or soreness. Contouring pillows are perfect for side sleepers who aren’t sure how thick their pillow should be. These types of pillows have two slopes, each of different thicknesses, allowing you to try both sides to see which is most comfortable. Morpheus Pillow is an example that a double-sided pillow giving you the best flexibility to switch between soft or hard dreams as you prefer.

Back sleepers

Back sleepers typically choose medium to high loft pillows to avoid any shoulder pain. Back sleepers need a thin pillow that provides enough lift to hold the head between the shoulders at level with the rest of the spine. If the pillow is too high, it will lift the head and create discomfort. 

Back sleepers have their spine held in the most natural, relaxed position it can be. 

Their ideal pillow allows their head to rest naturally and in line with their shoulders and spine. Proper support is needed beneath their neck for relaxation, and may also help to alleviate low back strain.


For most people, sleeping without a pillow may make neck pain, back pain, headaches, migraines, and even snoring or other breathing disturbances worse. According to sleep experts, using one to two pillows at most is the best combination for sleeping on your back or your side.

We know the value of comfortable sleeping on just one pillow, so we created Morpheus Pillow to suit all sleepers. Whether you prefer to sleep on your back, side, or stomach, the adjustable characteristic of this perfect pillow allows you to sleep on the firmer side or the soft side up to your preference. 

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