The number of pillows you need when you sleep is a matter of personal preference. Some people are comfortable sleeping with only one pillow while others prefer at least two or more. Still, others like specialised pillows to address pain and comfort issues they may have. So, how many pillows do you really need so you can sleep comfortably? Let’s look at what science has to say.
Using the right number of pillows can drastically improve your sleeping comfort. Pillows serve an important function by helping align the spine and support the neck while sleeping. The right number of pillows can help prevent back, neck and upper spine issues.
Pillows are designed to support the head and upper body by keeping the spine aligned to help relieve pressure while sleeping. A good quality pillow should adjust to the user’s unique build and sleeping position to help alleviate any pain from the joints and other pressure points.
If you notice, the human neck curves slightly forward to support the head when a person is upright. This natural position should be supported even while you are sleeping. Our research shows that there are no fast rules because different people have different needs. Therefore, it is better to personally experiment on how many pillows can give you the best sleep experience.
For those suffering from neck or spine discomfort, start with one pillow. If you find that one pillow can adequately support your upper spine and neck, try adding another after a few nights. It is best to evaluate if one or several pillows will give you the most restful sleep. Pay special attention to how fast you can fall asleep and how you feel upon waking up. Also compare how often you toss and turn when using different numbers of pillows.
If you find that a stack of several pillows is too high when sleeping on your back or side, this might be because your neck or head is bent at an unnatural angle. This can cause muscle aches and, in some cases, a narrowing of the air pipes which can result in snoring. On the other hand, if the pillows are too low, the neck and spine muscles are inadequately supported. That can result in obstructed and disturbed sleep.
Science recommends experimenting with a different number of pillows as well as different pillow fillings. Pillow fillings differ in the level of support and comfort they provide. Those who want softer and fluffier pillows can opt for down and polyester fillings. Wool and memory foam pillows are recommended for those who want a firmer pillow that can provide maximum head and neck support. We recommend down and polyester pillows for those who sleep on their stomachs and memory foam or feather pillows for those who sleep on the backs and sides.
So what is the bottom line? Well, sleep experts say one good quality pillow is enough for the average sleeper. However, your personal preference and sleep position still take the lead when considering the ideal number of pillows that will give you uninterrupted and restful sleep.