How Many Pillows Should You Sleep With?

Wondering how many pillows you should sleep with? It's a common question amongst many and there are many factors to consider. Read on to find out!

Most people understand that the quality of your pillow plays a considerable role in how well you sleep through the night. However, there is often confusion about the number of pillows that is recommended you sleep on.

We all have our sleeping habits that contribute to the optimal number of pillows that we feel we need to sleep. This guide will take you through the contributing factors allowing you to make a straightforward decision to enhance your night’s sleep.

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Know your Sleeping Position

Different pillows suit different sleeping position, so it’s essential to use a pillow that’s designed towards your needs, or this may cause sleeping difficulties if you persist with it over time.

Pillows for Back Sleepers

If you sleep on your back, then the most significant issue you need to address is keeping the neck aligned with your spine throughout your sleep.

To solve this, ideally, you need a pillow with a lower loft that keeps your head resting in a natural position. Also, optimal support allows the neck and head to rest and avoid the development of neck pain.

READ MORE: Find the Best Pillow for Back Sleepers

Pillows for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers are one of the more popular positions amongst people giving you a more extensive choice of options. The goal here is to have a pillow that provides support to support your head and neck. One thick pillow is ideal, preferably with a slightly higher loft than usual.

LEARN MORE: Which Pillows are Best For Side Sleepers

Pillows for Stomach Sleepers

Those that sleep on their stomachs have the hardest time keeping their spine correctly aligned through the night which then forces them to turn to one side.

A low loft pillow is recommended because a higher loft pillow can be uncomfortable. The goal here is to keep your spine as straight as possible while still being able to breathe without discomfort.

READ ON: Find the Best Pillow for Front or Stomach Sleepers


Pillow Quality

No matter how many pillows that you decide to use, the quality of the materials and build of the pillow is incredibly essential. The quality of your pillow will determine how well your head and neck are supported.

Weak support can lead you to develop neck or back pain which can continue to get worse over time.

The quality of your pillow will also determine how frequently it needs to be replaced. You may find that if you regularly sleep with two low-quality pillows that this can be replaced with a single high-quality pillow.

High-quality pillow fillings include
memory foam & goose down pillows.

Sleeping With No Pillow?

There are specific cases where you may benefit from completely sleeping without a pillow. Stomach sleeping is widely known as one of the worst sleeping positions, but if you’ve been sleeping like it for your whole life, then it’s difficult to change.

Sleeping on your stomach isn’t healthy for the spine, and it requires you to twist the neck which then moves out of spine alignment. For this reason, front sleepers are recommended to use a thin pillow with as little loft as possible.

In theory, sleeping with no pillow would keep your spine and neck completely aligned, but people can find this a little hard to get used to.

So if you can’t get used to sleeping with no pillow then replace your existing pillow with a very thin alternative.

Pillows are also a breeding ground for bacteria and germs so sleeping without one can be more healthy for your face and reduce the number of acne breakouts you experience.

Only Use a Pillow For Your Neck and Head

Pillows are designed to keep the neck and head stable and aligned so don’t be tempted to include your shoulders on the pillow as well. This may feel comfortable at first but will most likely make it harder to drop off to sleep.

This will be made worse if you sleep with more than one pillow because the loft will be higher, leaving your shoulders in an even more uncomfortable position. Make sure that only your head and neck are on your pillow with the rest of your body being supported by your mattress.

Test Your Pillows

Sleeping habits are personal and vary from person to person with no one size fits all solution. It’s recommended that you experiment and try different combinations of pillows to find which one works best for you. Even if you feel like you're sleeping well, there may still be a more effective alternative.

The best starting point is the recommended number and type of pillow for your current sleeping position and then experiment from there.


Should I be Careful About Using More Than One Pillow?

It’s common that people will use multiple pillows and layer them on top of each other to create the feeling of one thick pillow. The logic behind this is that this will provide the same support as a single pillow would.

However, this isn’t true because pillows aren't designed to be placed on top of each other.

The pressure and movement of your head throughout the night can cause the fillings to move to leave an uneven surface. The best results will usually be felt with one high-quality pillow.

When Do I Need More Than One Pillow?

There are occasions where more than one pillow can be effectively used, but these multiple pillows aren’t for propping your head up. If you sleep on your side, a second pillow can be placed between your knees while you sleep which will maintain spine alignment while relieving stress and strain.

Additionally, if you sleep on your back and regularly suffer from back pain then placing a pillow in between the knees will help with relief.

This added pillow will slightly elevate your knees which then straightens the spine by sinking your back further in your mattress surface. This will be affected by the quality of your mattress and how it responds to the added pressure.

So What Do You Recommend?

The type of pillow you choose to sleep with will ultimately come down to your personal preferences. However, the number of pillows you sleep with shouldn't change much from person to person.

It’s highly recommended that you sleep with one high-quality pillow unless you sleep on your stomach and prefer to sleep without a pillow to keep your spine correctly aligned to relieve pressure.

Whatever you choose to do the most important thing is that it doesn’t cause pain but leaves you feeling relaxed and well rested when you wake. 

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