There are those who prefer to sleep without a pillow and those who cannot do without a pillow instead. There are even those who need 2 or 3 to sleep on which to rest their heads. But then… is it better to sleep without a pillow or with a pillow?
In this article we will see if sleeping without a pillow is a good or bad idea, if sleeping directly with your head resting on the mattress has health benefits, or if it is always better to guarantee the cervical tract proper support.
If sleeping and above all sleeping well is important for you too, and above all you are tired of waking up in the morning full of pain, before starting to read the article I suggest you download our guide dedicated to perfect rest. Inside you will find many useful secrets to start sleeping well tonight. The guide is free and you can download it immediately by clicking the button below.
The story of the pillow
Before getting to the heart of the article, a little curiosity about the pillow; for example, did you know that the pillow was born 9000 years ago in Mesopotamia? At that time, however, they were not soft as we know them, but hard, made using massive blocks of stone. But this mattered little to the ancient inhabitants of the “land of rivers”, who had the only desire to protect their heads from insects and dirt.
In China, on the other hand, the wealthiest families used cushions made of wood or ceramic, skilfully decorated, to rest.
Much more comfortable the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans loved to rest, who as good lovers of Otium and good rest, preferred to rest their head on soft pillows stuffed with feathers or straw.
To have the pillow as we know it we will have to wait for the Industrial Revolution, when soft pillows of fabric and rectangular shape began to be produced.
What the story of the birth of the kitchen shows us is that man has always looked for ways to support the head in moments of rest, as if the support of the kitchen were a sine qua non to rest well.
Today the market offers a variety of truly amazing pillows. There are all shapes and different materials, each with its own particularities. There are soft, hard, made with goose feathers or soft memory foam… but which pillow to choose to rest? What are and characteristics that a pillow must have to guarantee a quality sleep and above all an awakening without back or neck pain?
Maybe before reading this article you never thought about it, but we spend 1/3 of our life sleeping, so it is right to do it in the best possible conditions, both for a matter of general well-being, and for that of our neck and ours. back. When we don’t sleep, or when we sleep badly, we are all more nervous and much less focused both at work and in private life. It is therefore right to give sleep the importance it deserves.
Is sleeping without a pillow good for the neck or not?
The night is a very important time for our health, because it is during sleep that our body regenerates itself and that important anatomical structures such as the neck and spine can finally rest. Just think that the poor neck, with its only 7 vertebrae, carries the weight of the head throughout the day, which usually is around 5 kg. A significant burden for such a small structure, which is why this area is often subject to muscle pain and tension during the day. It is no coincidence that the first cervical vertebra is called Atlas, like the Titan son of Zeus, who was forced by the same father to hold the entire celestial vault on his shoulders, to punish him for the close alliance with Cronus.
The only time the neck has to rest is the night, when finally, after a long day of work, we go to bed.
Contrary to what some think, sleeping without adequate support is not at all a good solution against neck pain, on the contrary in most cases it tends to make them worse and now I’ll explain why.
The cervical area is a very important area for our health and well-being. As you read earlier, it is the area that connects the spine to the head, an area that, among other things, is also very rich in nerve endings and therefore very sensitive. If we subject her to a source of constant stress, not only during the day but also at night, she will soon begin to experience pain and a certain joint stiffness, thus also compromising the movements of the head.
If until today you were convinced that sleeping without a pillow was a way to relieve neck pain, know that you were wrong. The best way to rest is to do so by following the natural curves of our skeletal system, especially the cervical one.
Sleeping without the support of a pillow, especially for those who like to rest on the side, can be deleterious, because it forces the neck into an unnatural and too inclined position. This incorrect posture over time will generate muscle tension that will reach up to the shoulders.
Even during sleep, as during the rest of the day, it is therefore important to assume a correct posture, and we can do it only by using the right support, in this case a pillow, and also a mattress, able to accommodate the natural curves of our cervical tract. , so as to ensure the correct alignment of the head, neck and shoulders.
In memory foam, artificial fibers or latex? How to choose the pillow for sleeping
Now that you know that sleeping without a pillow is not a good idea, let’s see what features a pillow should have to ensure a restful sleep and a pain-free awakening.
As mentioned before, today there is a really large quantity of cushions on the market, made with a great variety of materials.
There are latex, memory foam, artificial fibers, wool pillows… but which one to choose for sleeping?
As for the choice of material, everyone is free to buy what they prefer, the important thing is that the pillow is neither too hard nor too soft, because in both cases it would no longer perform its function of natural support for the head. Although it must be said that pillows made of memory foam are able to adapt better to the shape of the body.
As for the height, however, low pillows are suitable only for those who love to sleep on their stomachs, while those who sleep on their back or on the side should use a thicker and more compact pillow, preferably not too big.
If you suffer from neck pain or joint stiffness you may want to consider choosing a neck pillow. They are made especially for those suffering from localized pain in the neck. They have a somewhat unusual shape compared to traditional pillows and getting used to sleeping on them can take a few days, but I assure you that those who have tried them really can’t do without them anymore.
The important thing if you decide to buy this type of pillow is to go to specialized shops or sanitary ware retailers, avoiding closed-box purchases, always better try first. In cases of more severe pain, however, it would be advisable to contact a specialist, orthopedist or physiatrist, who, depending on the problem complained of and its severity, will certainly be able to advise you on which pillow to buy.
In addition to the pillow 7 habits to sleep well
A good sleep improves not only neck pain but also the quality of life. To sleep well, in addition to choosing a good pillow, there are also other habits that can help you get a better night’s rest, and which I will report briefly below. If you want to sleep well from tonight:
- Avoid putting mental or physical strain on your body before going to sleep
- In the evening at dinner, avoid meals that are too heavy or abundant
- Do not smoke, this not only in the evening before going to bed but also during the day
- Limit the number of coffees you drink during the day and the last one no later than lunchtime
- Don’t go to sleep until you feel really tired or tired
- Do not use a pc, tablet or smartphone when you are in bed
- Get to sleep with a relaxing herbal tea or a glass of warm milk