should you use one pillow or stack multiple
should you use one pillow or stack multiple

Are you the type of person who enjoys the comfort of sinking your head into a soft, fluffy pillow at the end of a long day? If so, you may find yourself pondering the age-old question: should you use just one pillow or stack multiple for a better night’s sleep? In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of both options, helping you find the perfect balance of comfort and support for your precious slumber. Get ready to uncover the secrets behind the pillow debate and discover which option suits you best.

Benefits of Using One Pillow

Proper Spinal Alignment

Using one pillow can help maintain proper spinal alignment while sleeping. When the head and neck are supported at the correct angle, the spine remains in a neutral position. This alignment helps to alleviate strain on the back, neck, and shoulders, promoting overall comfort and reducing the risk of waking up with stiffness or pain.

Reduced Neck Pain

By using just one pillow that provides adequate support, you can minimize the risk of developing neck pain. A single pillow that is neither too high nor too low helps keep the neck in a neutral position throughout the night, preventing excessive strain on the muscles and joints in this area.

Enhanced Sleep Quality

Using one pillow can contribute to improved sleep quality. When the head and neck are properly supported, it becomes easier to relax and drift off into a deep sleep. The absence of discomfort or pain associated with inadequate pillow support ensures a more restful and rejuvenating sleep experience.

Advantages of Stacking Multiple Pillows

Customizable Support

One of the advantages of stacking multiple pillows is the ability to customize the level of support according to individual preferences. By adding or removing pillows, you can create a personalized sleep surface that offers optimal comfort and helps align the spine.

Reduced Snoring

For those who struggle with snoring, stacking multiple pillows can be beneficial. By elevating the head slightly with an extra pillow, air passages can remain open and unobstructed, reducing the likelihood of snoring. This can lead to a quieter and more peaceful sleep environment for both you and your sleeping partner.

Relief for Acid Reflux

Stacking multiple pillows can be especially beneficial for individuals who suffer from acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). By elevating the upper body, gravity helps prevent stomach acid from flowing upward, reducing the risk of painful nighttime reflux symptoms.

Considerations for Using One Pillow

Individual Preference

Choosing to use one pillow ultimately comes down to personal preference. While some individuals find that one pillow provides sufficient support and comfort, others may require additional pillows to feel properly supported. Experimenting with different pillow options can help determine what works best for you.

Sleeping Position

The sleeping position also influences whether one pillow is sufficient. Back sleepers typically benefit from a lower, flatter pillow, while side sleepers may require a thicker, firmer pillow to maintain proper spinal alignment. Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, often find it more comfortable to sleep without a pillow or opt for a very thin one to prevent excessive strain on the neck.

Pillow Type

Different pillow types can affect the overall sleeping experience. Some individuals may prefer the softness and contouring abilities of memory foam pillows, while others may opt for the more breathable and supportive nature of latex or down pillows. Considering factors such as pillow material and firmness is crucial when choosing to use just one pillow.

Factors to Consider When Stacking Multiple Pillows

Number of Pillows

The number of pillows you stack depends on your comfort level and the amount of support desired. However, it is important to avoid over-stacking, as excessive elevation can lead to discomfort and strain on the neck and shoulders. Finding the right balance and number of pillows that provide adequate support is key.

Pillow Thickness

The thickness of each pillow used in a stack is another factor to consider. Thicker pillows can provide more elevation and support, while thinner pillows may be suitable for minimal elevation, such as for reducing snoring. Matching the thickness of each pillow to the desired level of support is essential for optimal comfort.

Material and Firmness

Like with a single pillow, the material and firmness of each pillow used in a stack play a crucial role in comfort and support. It’s important to select pillows that offer the desired level of firmness and are made from materials that promote breathability and durability. This ensures a comfortable and supportive sleep surface.

Potential Disadvantages of Using One Pillow

Insufficient Support

One potential drawback of using just one pillow is the lack of support, especially if the pillow is not properly suited to your sleeping position or personal preference. Insufficient support can lead to discomfort, pain, and disrupted sleep, ultimately affecting your overall well-being.

Increased Neck and Shoulder Pain

If the pillow used does not provide adequate neck and shoulder support, it can lead to increased pain and stiffness in these areas. As the neck and shoulder muscles work to compensate for the lack of support, tension and discomfort may develop over time.

Sleep Disruptions

Using one pillow that does not meet your specific needs can result in sleep disruptions throughout the night. Constantly adjusting and readjusting the pillow for better support can lead to fragmented sleep, leaving you feeling tired and groggy the next day.

Drawbacks of Stacking Multiple Pillows

Unstable Support

One potential drawback of stacking multiple pillows is the risk of unstable support. As the pillows shift and settle throughout the night, the overall support may become uneven or insufficient. This can result in discomfort and disturbed sleep, as well as potential strain on the neck and spine.

Over-Elevation of the Head

When stacking multiple pillows, it is important to avoid excessive elevation of the head. This can place strain on the neck and shoulders, potentially leading to discomfort and pain. Finding the right balance of elevation is crucial to ensure the best sleep posture and support.

Limited Availability of Pillows

Finding a suitable combination of pillows for stacking can be challenging, as not all pillows are created equal. Limited availability of pillows that are compatible in terms of size, thickness, and firmness can make it difficult to achieve the desired level of comfort and support.

How to Choose the Right Pillow

Consider Your Sleeping Position

When choosing a single pillow, consider your sleeping position. Back sleepers may prefer thinner and flatter pillows, while side sleepers often require thicker and firmer ones. Stomach sleepers may benefit from no pillow or a very thin one. Understanding your sleeping position can guide you in selecting the appropriate pillow.

Evaluate Pillow Material and Firmness

Different pillow materials, such as memory foam, latex, or down, offer varying levels of support and comfort. Consider your personal preference and any specific allergies or sensitivities when evaluating the material. Additionally, choose a pillow firmness that aligns with your preferences for softness or firmness.

Determine the Height and Loft

The height and loft of a pillow, whether thick or thin, can greatly impact sleep comfort and support. Select a pillow height that maintains proper spinal alignment and helps alleviate any pressure points. The ideal height and loft will vary depending on your sleeping position and individual preferences.

Alternative Pillow Options

Contour Pillows

Contour pillows are specifically designed to follow the natural curves of the head, neck, and shoulders. These pillows provide targeted support, promoting proper spinal alignment and reducing discomfort. Contour pillows are often preferred by individuals with neck or back pain, as they offer specific support in areas that need it most.

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows are known for their ability to mold and contour to the shape of the head and neck, providing personalized support. These pillows often offer excellent pressure relief and can be beneficial for individuals with neck or shoulder pain. Memory foam pillows come in various shapes and sizes, catering to different sleeping preferences.

Body Pillows

Body pillows are elongated pillows that run the length of the body, providing support to multiple areas simultaneously. These pillows can be shaped and positioned as desired, making them versatile for different sleeping positions. Body pillows are often beneficial for individuals who require additional support for the back, hips, or knees.

Expert Recommendations

Advice from Chiropractors

Chiropractors recommend using a single pillow that supports the natural curve of the neck and helps maintain proper spinal alignment. They emphasize the importance of choosing a pillow suitable for your sleeping position and individual needs.

Insights from Sleep Specialists

Sleep specialists often advise individuals to use just one pillow as it simplifies the sleep environment and reduces the risk of sleep disruptions. They encourage selecting a pillow that offers the desired level of support and comfort, helping to promote restful sleep.

Suggestions from Physical Therapists

Physical therapists recommend using only one pillow that supports the head, neck, and shoulders. They emphasize the importance of finding a pillow that promotes proper spinal alignment and alleviates any existing pain or discomfort.


Personal preference plays a significant role in determining whether one pillow or stacking multiple pillows is the right choice for you. Consider your individual needs, comfort, and sleeping position when making this decision. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and what may work well for one person may not work for another. Ultimately, the goal is to find a pillow or a combination of pillows that provide proper support, alignment, and comfort, ensuring a good night’s sleep and waking up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

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Amanda Bryant
Hello! My name is Amanda Bryant, and I am thrilled to be your go-to Chiropractic and sleep expert here at With years of experience and a passion for helping individuals achieve a restful night's sleep, I am dedicated to providing you with insightful tips and techniques to promote optimal sleep health. As a respected chiropractor, I have earned the trust and credibility within the industry. I hold numerous prizes and awards, recognizing my expertise in the field. With a deep understanding of the crucial relationship between quality sleep and overall well-being, my goal is to empower you with knowledge that can transform your sleep habits and enhance your life. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of assisting countless individuals in their journey towards improved sleep. Through my dedication and commitment, I have witnessed firsthand the positive impact that a good night's rest can have on one's physical and mental health.