The Harmful Effects of Sleeping with a Pillow on Your Head?

Many people have been sleeping with a pillow on their heads for as long as they can remember. This might be due to the feeling of being cradled or because it helps them sleep better. But there are some very harmful effects associated with this habit, so you should seriously consider whether or not you want to continue doing it.

#1 – You are more likely to experience headaches and migraines when you completely block your airways while sleeping on your back or side. When the blood vessels in the brain get compressed, they restrict blood flow and increase pressure inside the head, leading to severe headaches and migraines that will last all day, even after waking up from a good night’s rest!

You should avoid putting pillows on your head while you sleep to lessen the likelihood of experiencing this condition. If you put a pillow under your neck, try avoiding that and opting for pillows below your knees instead.

#2 – Sleeping with a pillow over your face can cause problems like blocked sinuses and breathing difficulties. The pillow blocks the airflow when you breathe in and out, which can cause long term damage to your respiratory system!

This is not safe for people who already have sinus problems or breathing issues like asthma because it might worsen their situation! If you are suffering from any of these conditions, avoid sleeping with a pillow over your face at all costs.

#3 – Putting a pillow on your head can also affect the alignment of your spine and neck, which might result in long term pain if you sleep this way for many years! Using pillows to achieve optimum spinal alignment is not safe either because it adds unnecessary pressure onto already compressed areas that cannot handle the weight of large pillows!

This can result in many other problems like chronic pain, muscle spasms and tightness, restricted blood flow to the muscles surrounding your spine, making them prone to injury. These issues might also lead to headaches and migraines that will last for hours even after waking up from a night’s rest!

If you already experience neck pain consider looking into an orthopaedic pillow.

Sleeping on your stomach with a pillow over your head is not recommended because it can obstruct airways. It might cause sinus issues like blocked nasal passages, which makes you breathe through the mouth instead of through the nose! This will affect how oxygen gets into your bloodstream and results in suboptimal blood flow throughout the body, leading to other conditions like heart problems!

There are many topics related to sleep, and some are interesting and others outright weird.

What are the reasons anyone would sleep with a pillow on their head?

One can only imagine that there could be some deep-rooted physiological problem. For instance, sleeping with a pillow on your head is sometimes done by children on the Aspergers scale.

I’m not suggesting for one moment there is a correlation between the two if this is something you practise on a nightly basis.

However, we all seek comfort in many ways. Some weird and wonderful ideas and interpretations of comfort fill the world so let’s not judge anyone and what we might term as peculiar sleeping habits.

I think there are some valid reasons for placing a pillow on your head when sleeping, only if you are a side sleeper!

It may be that you live in a noisy neighbourhood, and the extra cushioning attenuates some of the sounds which provide for a better night’s sleep.


I guess something is comforting about the weight of a pillow on the side of your face that may allow certain people to be able to drift off the sleep faster than usual.

It could be the reason that light permeates your room, ill-fitting curtains, or you have a partner who insists on surfing the web before they sleep.

The validity of both proposals have merit, and in those circumstances, you may find the desire to block the light with a pillow.

Pillows being manufactured from dense materials are ideal for blocking light if that is the issue at hand.

A combination of both light and noise could find the pillow as the ideal tool to block out these irritating intrusions, to drift off to sleep.

Is It Safe to Sleep With a Pillow on Your Head at Night?

Considering all things, one would have to find minimal safety issues with sleeping in this manner. If you sleep alone, I doubt very much you could come to any harm.

Having cats in the bedroom may cause concern, and a cat could indeed jump onto the pillow and add more weight.  It would be natural to assume if you are sleeping on your back, your airways are not obstructed for any reason, and the pillow is not causing any obstructions.

If you share your room with a boisterous sibling, things could get a little exciting if your sibling found the urge to hold you down and apply pressure, you know how kids are, and fast play can get out of hand and become a little dangerous.

Choosing the Correct Pillow to Sleep with On Your Head

It may sound flippant but if you are going to sleep with a pillow on your head, then at least choose one made from excellent materials. 

There are many pillows to choose from, and some have excellent breathable qualities, which in my opinion, is commendable when sleeping in this fashion.

The range of soft, sumptuous pillows is staggering, and regardless of where you place the pillow, you will find hours of enjoyable sleep.

Some pillows are lightweight with a softer exterior and a dense memory foam inner for an excellent night’s rest.

For most of us, placing the pillow below the bread will render the best sleeping outcome, but if that’s not for you, the sumptuous feel of the pillow on your face will have the same effect.

You may wish to try a hollow fibre pillow, and it will be lightweight and incredibly soft.

Sleeping Positions

There is no right and wrong way to get a good night’s sleep, and whatever way you choose to sleep, it is always done better with a quality pillow that can offer support and comfort to the user whichever way they choose to use the pillow.

I would suggest sleeping in this position with a pillow on your head and not under it is a unique proposition, and one may be best undertaken with a pillow under the head.

However, a supportive pillow will support the neck, allowing you to wake fresh and rested, which is important to approach the new day in a positive light.

Concern should be shown for back sleepers who cover their face with a pillow. Through the night, if insufficient ventilation is in the room, it could allow for carbon dioxide to build around the mouth and nose.

Pillows and a great mattress is the key to good night sleep.

With mattress and pillow technology being what it is today and the wealth of knowledgeable users, it is reasonable to get great advice on any sleeping position and habit you may have. Professionals are always willing to help with the elections of the best pillow for you.


Of course, we know that carbon dioxide is the trigger for our respiratory system. As carbon dioxide levels increase in our bloodstream, the urge to exhale increases and the breathing process starts again.

I see this as less troublesome for stomach sleepers as the head is always turned to one side, and as long as the airway is extended, this could be the ideal sleeping position.

One would have to worry regarding this practice in general regardless of the advice you may find on the internet. Waking with flailing arms and gasping for breath is not the ideal outcome from sleeping.

Depending on how long this continues for it could be detrimental to your health.

If this is a practice you have carried out for years, then the good news is it’s just one of those quirks, and if it works you, you continue.

It is still recommended a pillow under the head offering support and comfort will provide the best nights rest while maintaining a good posture for your neck and supporting muscles. With the range of quality pillows to be found today, you are assured of a good night’s sleep.

Those are the three main reasons not to sleep with a pillow on your head. It won’t be an issue most of the time, and it tends to be worse for stomach sleepers who also put a pillow over their head because it blocks airways and can aggravate the wrong spinal position.

Most people sleep with a pillow over their heads to provide extra comfort or to block out light. It’s generally a last resort when you are struggling to get to sleep and feel restless.