How Many Pillows Should You Sleep With At Night?

How Many Pillows do You Need to sleep well

Have you ever found yourself wondering whether your comfy pile of pillows is good for your sleeping habits? Even though these convenient headrests might feel comfortable initially, they might truly be causing you a lot more harm than good when it comes to proper night’s sleep.

With this said, how many pillows should you sleep on at night? That’s a question that requires quite a lot more thought than you’d expect, so let’s dive in and find out.

History of the Pillow

The pillow has been around for quite some time – there’s absolutely no doubt about it. Quite a lot of the ancient cultures incorporated stone pillows to sleep on. This shows that even back then people felt the necessity to use something which gets their head in an appropriate position.

It was the Romans and Greeks who first employed some of the initial uses of feathers and clothes to create a plushy, sensational alternative to the obviously uncomfortable stone pillow.

Fast-forward 2000 years later, they have become a tremendously essential part of our sleeping habits. The intention of the pillow is to get your spine aligned. See, your spine goes up to your neck and, for all of it to be in perfect alignment, your head has to rest on something, regardless of the sleeping position you prefer. That’s where the pillow comes into the picture.

image of an Egyptian wooden pillow
Image of an Egyptian wooden pillow with inscription on base. Photo Credit:See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We Recommend One Pillow Under Your Head

Experts say that the sleeping position which is best for your body is the one which keeps your spine, neck, and head in proper and neutral alignment. Failing to abide by this could potentially lead to a myriad of serious health issues ranging from back and neck pain (read about our top pillows for neck problems) to chronic headaches and serious fatigue.

Neck & Spine Alignment


It goes without saying that neck and spine alignment are the major concerns that you’d have to account for when determining the number of pillows to use. With that in mind, is one or two pillows better?

The ultimate intention behind stacking two or more pillows would be to compensate the lack of height or support. However, it’s better to opt in for one that’s thick and supportive enough than to go ahead and stack two or more. The reason for that is simple – you do not lay in perfect condition throughout the entire night.

You move. And as you move, they will get dislocated. At some point through the night, you will mess up the alignment which is so critical. This is what usually results in serious aching in the morning.

Prolonged usage of inappropriate pillows, or a number of them, could cause this pain to become chronic and particularly challenging to deal with. This could even lead to soreness, inflammation, and stiffness. Alternatively, the usage of one pillow which brings proper spine alignment would reduce neck, back as well as shoulder pain.

Body Pillows are the Exception


A full body pillow is something that you can use as an exception. They are usually suggested for pregnant women as they provide an additional and different type of support which abides by the needs of this specific period.

When a woman is pregnant, she would require additional support and her spine would align differently. Pregnant women tend to sleep predominantly on their sides and, as such, they’d need enhanced support to guarantee the proper alignment. There is, of course, another factor to be considered here – the fetus. It’s said that they should sleep more on their left side to make sure everything is alright.

pregnant woman sleeps on body pillow

Total Pillows By Position

Back Sleeper


When it comes to back sleeping, one pillow seems to be the most optimal choice for a range of different reasons, some of which were specified above. However, the choice of your pillow is just as important. If your pillow is too high, this is going to lead to a loss of normal cervical curvature. If your pillow is too low, on the other hand, this is going to exaggerate it.

The ultimate goal for you would be to seek out a balanced pillow which would deliver neutral alignment and normalize the curvature. This will translate to appropriate and comfortable night’s sleep.

Side Sleeper


For a side sleeper, we’d suggest one under the head and one between the knees. When you put a cushion between your knees, you will help prevent the top leg pulling your entire spine out of the properly balanced alignment. This is capable of relieving a substantial amount of stress, which is genuinely something that you ought to be concerned with.

Stomach Sleeper


Even though this is not a recommended sleeping position, you will fall asleep in a manner which is most comfortable for you. With this said, if you happen to love the free faller sleeping position, a thin model is what you want to go for. And, yes, once again – you’d only have to use one of them.

a woman sleeps on the side

Why Do Some Opt For No Pillow?

Interestingly enough, not many people stop to think whether or not you truly need a pillow at all. At a very young age we are programmed to believe that this is something like a natural attachment to the bed and, as such, there are no questions asked regarding its actual necessity.

Believe it or not, there are many benefits of sleeping without a pillow. One of them, as curious as it may seem, is the reduction of acne. The reason for that would surprise you. Pillows, as unfortunate as it may sound, are collecting impurities and dust. This is what causes the appearance of acne and other types of blemishes. Hence, the removal of the latter would help you out substantially.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can More than One Pillow Cause Neck Pain?

Yes, more pillows can easily cause neck pain. This is mainly because they will pull your spine out of alignment, causing more issues than they’d fix. Of course, this is also true for using just one pillow which is not suited to your body’s requirements.

Can Nighty Neck Pain Cause Depression?

Yes, neck pain, especially when chronic, could cause depression. This is true for any other chronic pain, regardless of its source. The more you have to deal with it, the more genuinely concerned you’d feel. This will start taking away your attention, and it could lead to depression.

Will More Of Them Cause Me To Snore More?

While it’s not necessarily true, it’s also possible. Depending on the number of pillows and your own body’s specifications, using additional pillows could aggravate your snoring. This would be caused by the improper alignment of your respiratory channels, ultimately blocking the flow of air or severely obstructing it – this is something that you ought to keep in mind.

a beautiful woman sleeps on two pillows

Conclusion


As you can see, there are quite a few different things that you might want to take into account when it comes to deciding on the number of pillows you want to sleep on. Ultimately, the choice would be up to you but we highly recommend you go with one that’s designed for your sleeping position.

Of course, there are exceptions, but as you can see, they do not refer to the number of pillows you put under your head.

This is an important concern and one that you’d certainly have to pay a lot of attention to. That’s why you’d better pay it the necessary amount of concern.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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