August 05, 2021 6 min read

When you think of a bed, you think of sheets, a blanket, and of course, pillows. Pillows are an essential component of a bed and without them, you couldn’t possibly get a good night’s rest. Right? But did you ever think that you may not be sleeping on your pillow the right way? Did you ever think that the way we have all been taught how to lay on a pillow is actually not the best for our posture?

The proper way to sleep on a pillow isn’t as simple as just resting your head on it and falling asleep right away. In fact, figuring out the proper way to sleep on a pillow can improve your overall sleep quality and ultimately help you to live a better and more productive lifestyle. In this article, we’ll discuss how to lay on a pillow, if you should be sleeping with a pillow at all, and the best pillows for the different sleeping positions. Figuring the correct way to sleep on a pillow can help if you have trouble staying asleep or falling asleep at all. And once you figure out the proper way to sleep on a pillow, you’ll never go back to your old ways.

How to Properly Sleep on a Pillow

The proper pillow position for sleep depends almost entirely on your posture. While pillows are often just thought of as a way to support the head and neck, they are also helpful in keeping your spine in the proper position. While sleeping, you should try to keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned at all points throughout the night. You want your head supported but your neck and spine in alignment. The right pillow should support the natural curve of your neck but shouldn’t be too high that it causes muscle strain in your neck, back, and shoulders. You want to choose a pillow that is comfortable and keeps your neck aligned with your check and lower back. If you twist and turn a lot throughout the night, try to make it a point to move your entire body and not just your neck or waist. This will keep your body properly aligned and positioned on the pillow, even if you change sleeping positions.

What is the proper way to sleep on a pillow graphic

Finding the best way to sleep with pillows can reduce neck and back pain and help you get a more comfortable night’s rest. So, now that we know how to lay on a pillow, let’s get into if you should be sleeping with a pillow at all.

Should You Sleep With a Pillow at All?

Sleeping without a pillow? How could that ever be good for you? While we’re taught that sleeping with a pillow is necessary, that might not actually be the case for everyone. Below, we’ll get into the benefits and drawbacks of sleeping with a pillow:

Benefits to sleeping on a pillow

Benefits of sleeping with a pillow

  • Supports good posture- sleeping with a pillow at night can help improve your posture throughout the day
  • Keeps spine in a neutral position to prevent neck and back pain
  • Is more comfortable than just sleeping straight on the bed

Drawbacks to sleeping on a pillow

Drawbacks of sleeping with a pillow

  • May cause neck pain or discomfort for side-sleepers
  • May cause poor posture for side-sleepers
  • May cause wrinkles over time as pillows tend to compress the skin during sleep
  • May cause acne because bacteria can accumulate on pillowcases

So now that you know the pros and cons to sleeping with a pillow, you may be wondering: how many pillows should I sleep with? While it may be tempting to load your bed up with a surplus of pillows, that actually isn’t necessary for good sleep. For most cases, one pillow is more than enough. Rather than loading up on multiple pillows for your bed, focus on finding the right pillow for your sleep. The one exception is for side sleepers. Side sleepers may prefer to use two pillows, with one under their head and the other between their knees.

If you’re now wondering how to place pillows on your bed, it all depends on the position in which you sleep. Let’s get into it:

The best pillow for side sleepers

The Best Pillow Position for Side Sleepers

For side sleepers, sleeping with two pillows is ideal. In addition to a comfortable pillow underneath your head, you’ll want to use a firm pillow between your knees. This will prevent your top leg from pulling your spine out of alignment. While side sleeping is fairly common, a drawback many people face is shoulder pain. So if you’re curious how to stop shoulder pain from side sleeping, you may want to consider using a pillow with arm holes. A pillow with arm holes places your arm at a gradual incline that eliminates pressure so you can continue to sleep comfortably on your side, without the constant shoulder pain. You can also try exercising your shoulders to relieve pain, applying heat and ice, and taking anti-inflammatory medication.

The best pillow for back sleepers

The Best Pillow Position for Back Sleepers

If you are a back sleeper, keeping a small pillow under the back of your knees can help to minimize stress on your spine and support the curve of your lower back. You should still sleep with a pillow under your head, of course, but it should be positioned in a way that supports your head, neck, and shoulders. Back sleeping is also the best sleeping position for shoulder impingement. When you sleep on your back, your spine is properly aligned and there is little to no pressure put on your shoulders, neck, and back. If you suffer from shoulder impingement and you sleep on your back, you may want to consider putting an additional pillow under your shoulders to open up your chest and bring your shoulders back. 

The best pillow position for stomach sleepers

The Best Pillow Position for Stomach Sleepers

Sleeping on your stomach isn’t ideal as it puts stress on the back and can put your spine out of alignment. Because of this, it’s essential to find the best pillow position if you’re a stomach sleeper. For stomach sleepers, you’ll want to put a flat pillow underneath your stomach and pelvis area to promote better spinal alignment. As for your head, you’ll want to either use a thin pillow or no pillow at all.

Other Sleeping Positions

It’s almost important to think about sleeping sitting up. Is it safe? Can it improve your health? Sleeping while sitting up is generally healthy as long as you don’t do it for an extended period of time. However, there is a risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot that forms after long periods of sitting down with your legs bent. So, if you’re on a long flight or car ride, be sure to take the proper steps to minimize the risk of developing DVT.

If you suffer from chronic neck pain, it’s important you know the proper way to sleep on a pillow in order to relieve some of that pain. Side sleeping and back sleeping are the best for reducing neck pain. If you sleep on your back, you’ll want to use a rounded, flat pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. If you sleep on your side, use a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head. This will help to keep your spine straight. Knowing the proper way to sleep on a pillow can help to reduce neck pain and help you achieve a much better night’s rest.

 Woman comfortably sleeping on her pillow

Why Investing in a Good Pillow is Important for Your Sleep Health

In a perfect world, getting a good night’s rest would be as simple as jumping into bed and falling asleep as soon as your head hits your pillow. But unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen. More often than not, we’re stuck lying in bed for hours, counting how many times the ceiling fan turns, completely unable to get ourselves to fall asleep. This is exactly why you should invest in a good pillow. Investing in a good quality pillow will do wonders for your sleep health. A good pillow can help you sleep better, longer, and more comfortably. Not to mention a good quality pillow will last longer and save you money from having to constantly rebuy them.

Beyond just investing in a good quality pillow, you want to buy the right pillow for your individual health circumstances. Which is where MedCline comes into play. Whether you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux, or shoulder pain, MedCline has a pillow designed to help. MedCline has an Acid Reflux Relief System, a pillow that is scientifically engineered to reduce nighttime acid reflux. If you suffer from shoulder pain, our Shoulder Relief System supports your shoulder while you sleep to reduce pain. Lastly, our therapeutic body pillow promotes alignment and comfortability to improve your overall sleep quality.

So now that you know where to put pillows when sleeping and the proper way to lay on a pillow, you should be getting a good night’s rest every night. Getting good sleep is necessary in order to live a healthy and well-balanced life. Take some time to figure out the proper way to sleep on a pillow and you’ll be on your way to getting a better night’s rest in no time.



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