Should Shoulders Be on Pillow When Sleeping?

Resting shoulders over your pillow while sleeping could be a bad idea. Imagine going to bed early so you can wake up feeling refreshed and energized the next day. But unfortunately, you wake up with body pain wondering what went wrong. 

There could be multiple causes of sleeping issues, one of them being your pillow. A good night’s sleep is necessary to be in good health. People who experience trouble having a good night’s sleep have adverse effects on their health. How you place your pillow under your head plays an important role in the quality of your sleep. 

Stay with us as we are going to discuss “should shoulders be on pillow when sleeping”. Here we will discuss how our pillow should be placed when we sleep, whether we should keep our shoulders on the pillow while sleeping, and why we should avoid doing so.

Why is Using a Pillow Important?

Pillows are used for the alignment of your upper body during sleep. It helps to keep your spine in a neutral position and support good posture. Spending a long time asleep in the same position can cause stress in some parts of your body. 

Pillows are known to be the perfect solution to reduce stress. They provide support to the head, keeping it at a comfortable level which helps to remove the pressure from the cervical area and straighten out the spine. 

People use different types of pillows for their comfort, whether they are floor pillows, therapeutic sleeping pillows, outdoor pillows, and so on. Not only the position of the pillow, but the position of the shoulders on the pillow might also affect your health and overall posture. 

Why Should We Avoid Placing Shoulders on Pillow

We should avoid placing our shoulders on pillows while sleeping. It can cause damage to our health, such as restricting the natural curvature of the spine. Restrictions on the curvature of the spine can lead to sciatica and other forms of distress in the morning. Placing your shoulders on the pillow can cause misalignments that can cause pain in the upper body and back.

So if someone asks you, should your shoulders be on a pillow? The answer should be “No.” Because the pillow provides support to the head, putting your shoulders on the pillow will overthrow the purpose because your neck will end up at a different and odd angle. If you sleep while putting your shoulders on the pillow, that would ruin the purpose of the pillow, which is to fill up the gap between the head and body.

How to Place Your Pillow When You Sleep?

Usually doctors advise people to not use a pillow for sleeping. But sleeping without a pillow may not be a good idea for everyone. If a person sleeps without a pillow, it can cause difficulty in obtaining quality sleep and can lead to discomfort in the neck and spine most of the time.

If one uses a pillow still their body gets misaligned sometimes, which can cause severe effects on their health, including pain around several joints in the body. Misalignment can also lead to many problems related to sleep, metabolism, and much more.

Therefore, it is important to use the right kind of pillow for yourself. 

Right Way to Place Pillow

Pillows are specifically used to fill up the gap between the head and body. The neck is the bridge between your head and the body. If there is no support, the neck muscles will feel the pressure the whole night, which can cause neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. Let’s learn more about using pillows for different types of sleep positions.

For Back Sleepers

If you are a back sleeper, place your pillow under your head and neck with your shoulders just below the pillow. Do not lay your shoulders on the pillow. Make sure your ears stay parallel with your shoulders and your chin remains in a neutral position. The correct placement of the shoulders will relieve spine tension and provide you with a night of quality sleep.

For Side Sleepers

It is very important for side sleepers to sleep in a correct position as side sleepers tend to struggle a lot with back, neck and joint pain. If you are a side sleeper, the correct way of sleeping for you is to place your head and neck on the pillow while keeping your shoulders beneath the pillow. This will not only allow you to rest comfortably, but will also reduce body pain and snoring issues (if you have any) 

For Front Sleepers

If you are a front sleeper and you sleep on your stomach, you should be aware of the fact that it is one of the most stressful positions for the back and neck. Use a relatively flat pillow so that your head and neck do not get tired. Your shoulders should not be on your pillow unless it is comfortable to do so. Place a flat pillow under your abdomen or pelvis to keep the natural alignment of your lower back.

Read also: Can you wash a cooling gel pillow in the machine?

Bonus: Types Of Pillows For Different Sleeping Positions

Here is a list of some different types of pillows that will help you choose the right pillow according to your preferred sleeping position.

For Back Sleepers

Medium- firm or medium-loft pillows are the perfect types of pillows for those who sleep on their backs. These pillows help you keep your head held fairly straight, or upright, facing the roof. They also help you relieve pressure on your neck and shoulders and support your head to be aligned with the spine.

For Side Sleepers

For side sleepers, a firm, high-loft, and a thicker pillow is the best option. A high-loft pillow will make sure to keep your head up so that it is aligned with your spine, and firm support will keep your head and neck in line with your back throughout the night.

For Front Sleepers

Usually, it is advised to avoid sleeping in this position. However, if you find it difficult to change your sleeping position, then low-loft pillows are best for you. 

Read also: Should I raise my knees when I sleep?


Physical issues like poor posture, back discomfort, neck pain, stiffness, and headaches are all possible outcomes of keeping shoulders on your pillow while sleeping. 

It is also essential to know that a good night’s sleep requires more than just keeping your shoulders off the pillow. It also requires picking out the right pillow, lying down in the right posture and good eating habits.

Thanks for reading!