What To Consider When Purchasing A Pillow For Neck Pain
Most people dont give much thought to their pillow, beyond choosing a pillow thats nice and squishy for immediate comfort. This means that when we do realize our pillow may be contributing to our neck pain, we may not know how to go about choosing the best pillow. If youre in this position, you may be susceptible to misleading marketing and end up choosing a pillow thats ill-suited for your needs.
To help you get started, weve made a list of the most important factors. Focusing on these factors and having a basic understanding of pillow features and construction can help you find the pillow that works best for you.
How Long Should Memory Foam Pillows Last
Expect your memory foam pillow to give you at least two years of nightly use. Check whether it needs replacing by folding it in half and seeing if it springs back or stays folded. If the latter, it’s time for a new one. Likewise, swap it out if it gets lumpy or you start waking up with neck pain again.
How Do I Choose A Pillow For Neck Pain
Those experiencing chronic neck pain should always seek the advice of a medical professional to rule out anything serious. If it’s determined that the culprit is the pillow – it’s an easy fix!First, pick a pillow that suits the primary sleep position . Generally speaking, stomach sleepers need the softest/flattest pillows while side sleepers need the most loft and support.Aim to get the body into neutral head, neck and spine alignment, allowing the natural curves of the body to lay as they should with support but no additional strain. This may take a few tries with different pillows and even some conversations about the right mattress but, over time, finding the best sleeping position and the best pillow to match will be worth it.
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Simply Sova Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Sold mainly on Amazon
Best Value Runner Up
- A slightly less expensive alternative to the Coop Home Goods pillow, the Simply Sova Pillow offers an adjustable loft but is limited to two levels of adjustment due to the two removable layers
- The plus is no foam mess and consistent firmness across the entire pillow
- Great for all sleeping positions
- Breathable hypoallergenic materials and design
- Great value and frequently discounted
Amazon Review Quote:
Best for Petite Side Sleepers
- Eco-friendly Bio Pur memory foam minimizes heat trapping
- Relatively thin but firm makes it ideal for smaller or petite side sleepers
- Foam is open celled which cools better than closed cell foam pillow options
- Breathable cover
- Made in the USA
Verified Review Quote:“A good everyday pillow is really hard to come by. They are either too soft, or too hard — both cause some sort of neck pain. But this pillow is perfect! I love that it is responsive, so it adjusts to my sleeping needs and weight. Also, it stays cool, which is nice, as you don’t get overheated and feel uncomfortable.”
Best For Back Sleepers: Core Products Tri
Why We Like It: This cervical pillow design helps cradle the head and support the neck while sleeping on your back.
Its Worth Noting: The polyester fiber fill can trap heat, so it may not suit hot sleepers.
Back sleepers should look for a flatter pillow to help keep your necks natural curve, explains New Jersey-based Rahul Shah, MD, board-certified orthopedic spine and neck surgeon. The Casper Original Low Loft Pillow, our pick for stomach sleepers, will work well for back sleepers, too. But Dr. Shah says that many people who sleep on their back also like a cut-out pillow since it helps cradle the head.
This cervical pillow from Core Products is a simple design with a center cradle for your head. It has a low, firm bolster at the bottom to support the natural curve of your neck for people with small frames, and a larger, firm bolster at the top for folks with a big frame. The raised sides help keep your head nestled in, too. This pillow provides firm support for the therapeutic benefits to your neck. However, the polyester fiber fill may retain heat.
Bear in mind that a cut-out cervical pillow may take time for your body to adjust to it. To start, alternate with a traditional pillow every other night for two weeks. If you occasionally roll on your side during sleep, this pillow is not for you, because it is not meant for side sleeping at all.
Price at time of publication: $46
- Trial or guarantee: 100% satisfaction guarantee
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Average Mattress Last
Some Of The Best Cervical Pillows For Neck Pain
Below are nine of the best cervical pillows.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best Pillow Types For Neck Pain Relief
As with all products you purchase for your sleep, there are many nuances to finding that pillow that will be just right for you. But when it comes to the materials and the type of pillow to look out for to help alleviate neck pain, the answer is a little more straightforward.
Well go over the best types of pillows for neck pain and which types to avoid.
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Where Should You Buy Your Pillows From
While some would immediately assume that your best bet would be to go out and purchase something from a nearby store, others would believe that the internet would be the better option. Well, both of these options have their perks and drawbacks, and we’ll enlighten you on the best choice for you.
Firstly, we’ll begin with brick-and-mortar stores. These are great, and more often than not, they’ll have a wide selection of pillows in different shapes, sizes, and materials. However, they typically aren’t very cheap. In fact, you could easily wind up spending a few hundred dollars on some of their higher-end pillows.
On top of this, you might not know how beneficial each pillow is for your neck pain. You may find yourself settling for a pillow that doesn’t help with your pain because you’re unaware of any better pillow options. This is where online shopping comes in. You get to see reviews and ratings and have access to a wide variety of pillows at more affordable prices.
Start with physical stores maybe try out a few pillows first. Then go online, compare them with the pillows you saw in-store, and make an informed decision based on your preferences.
When To Replace Your Pillow
Once youve found the perfect pillow, it can be tempting to check cure neck pain off your list and move on. But replacing a pillow that no longer supports you is a key factor in the fight against neck pain!
Thats why we recommend checking in with your pillow every 6-8 months. If you notice that its gone flat, feels lumpy, or is no longer maintaining its shape throughout the night, theres a good chance it needs to be replaced.
Of course, some pillows filled with soft, compressible materials need to be frequently fluffed in order to maintain integrity. So if you see that your brand new down pillow has lost its loft, dont throw it away just yet! Instead, give it some enlivening fluffs to bring it back to life.
Tempur Original Large Pillow: Best Memory Foam Pillow For Neck Pain
Price: £109 | Buy now from Tempur
Contoured memory foam is the pillow type of choice for people seeking relief from neck pain, and Tempur is the king of memory foam pillows. This classic robust pillow is pricey, but it’s a superb investment if you want to sleep better and wake in comfort.
The raised section supports your neck and helps your head, neck and shoulder muscles to fully relax in their natural posture while you sleep. The Large size is 11.5cm at its highest, which is not actually that high, so while it’s perfect for back sleepers you may need a bit of extra height to accommodate your shoulder if you’re a side sleeper. Luckily the Tempur Original also comes in X Large with 13cm of support, which is ideal for side sleepers. However it’s also worth noting that the pillow will compress and firm up over your first few nights of sleep.
Key specs Filling: Memory foam Cover: 100% cotton cover Sizes: Large is 61cm x 31cm also available in Medium and X Large
What Pillow Materials Are Best For Neck Pain
The best pillow for neck and shoulder pain is firm enough to hold your head at a healthy angle, but soft enough to alleviate pressure points. Most sleepers find success with either a memory foam, latex, buckwheat, or feather pillow, as these materials offer the best balance of support and pressure relief.
Does Saatva Have Off
While all of Saatvas sleep products come to you in a box, they arent compressed. Often, when mattresses are compressed to fit into a box, this process can cause some off-gassing when you open them up. This typically results in a faint chemical smell once you remove the plastic.Truth be told, memory foam does have a slight smell to it, even when it hasnt been compressed. I noticed this with the Saatva Memory Foam pillow, but it should fade after about 24 hours.
Why You Can Trust Us
Our team at Sleep Foundation includes experts and testers with years of experience in the sleep product industry. We have tested over 300 pillows in order to determine which ones are best suited to sleepers with different needs. Our team includes back, side, stomach, and combination sleepers, as well as sleepers of different body types. This allows us to represent as wide an array of sleep preferences as possible in our findings.
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Cervical Pillow For Neck Pain
Cervical pillows are an effective way to manage neck pain and help alleviate the discomfort associated with it. These pillows are designed to cradle and support the neck and head, allowing the user to maintain proper neck alignment while sleeping. Cervical pillows also help reduce pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles, which in turn can help reduce pain. They are also great for providing comfort and support as they are usually made of memory foam or other soft materials. By using a cervical pillow, individuals can enjoy a good nights sleep without having to worry about neck pain.
Adjustable Side Sleeper Pillow For Neck And Shoulder Pain Relief
- PAIN-FREE SLEEP: The curved design gives your shoulders more room and head support, helping with neck pain so you can get the restorative, peaceful sleep you deserve
- PERFECT FOR ANY POSITION: A uniquely shaped pillow for neck pain is ideal for side sleeping It also provide luxury comfort for stomach or back sleepers
- BREATHABLE AND COOLING PILLOW: Medical-grade gel pillow cover provides increased softness and coolness while you sleep Wake up refreshed and invigorated, ready to take on the day with our cool pillow
- FULLY ADJUSTABLE FOR YOUR COMFORT: Interior foam pieces are adjustable to keep your neck straight and back aligned in any sleep position Simply remove the filling from our neck support pillow as needed
- ANTI WRINKLE PILLOW, SOFT ON HAIR: Outer cover of our stomach sleeper pillows is nylon which feels silky and cool on skin helps reduce wrinkles on your face and does not damage hair during sleep
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Brooklyn Bedding Talalay Latex Pillow
- Customer rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- Firmness: medium firm
- Material: latex foam
If you hate the sinking feeling of memory foam, opt for a pillow made of latex foam instead. Supportive natural latex helps cradle the head and neck while you rest easy on your side. The organic cotton cover is said to be breathable, easy to clean, and soft to the touch.
The pillow is also hypoallergenic and available in a low or high loft. High is likely the best choice for side sleepers.
Side sleepers like that the pillow provides plenty of neck support without being too firm. A handful of customers also appreciate that it doesnt sleep hot like memory foam.
The brand offers free shipping, a 30-night trial, and a 3-year warranty.
Best For Combo Sleepers: Purple Harmony Pillow
Why We Like It: The Purple Harmony Pillow was thoughtfully designed with a unique internal grid structure and hypoallergenic latex core to support your head and neck in any sleeping position.
Its Worth Noting: This pillow is on the expensive side, but they do offer a 100-night trial period.
We know: $179 is a lot for a pillow. But for that price, youre getting a near-perfect design thats more than worth it if youve tried out dozens of pillows to no avail.
Purples pillows use a proprietary honeycomb-patterned grid thats been specifically formulated and engineered to provide both head and neck support and optimal airflow. That unique design creates comfortable support from the moment you lay down and its responsive if you move around throughout the night. The grid is paired with a premium Talalay latexwhich Purple says wont irritate allergies the way a natural rubber latex might. Talalay latex shares the contouring properties of memory foam but stays cooler. Thanks to those internal materials, this pillow wont fall flat over time or with use, either. Hot sleepers will appreciate the moisture-wicking, breathable mesh cover that keeps you from overheating.
While youll be spending a pretty penny on this pillow, the brand offers a 100-night sleep trial if you try it and feel like it doesnt live up to the hype.
Price at time of publication: $161
- Trial or guarantee: 100-night sleep trial
You May Like: Tempur-pedic Tempur-cloud Pillow.
A Side Sleeper Pillow That Checks All The Boxes
Fill: Shredded memory foam, kapok fibers | Trial period: 120-night trial period | Adjustable: Yes
In a nutshell, the Layla kapok has it all: softness and support, sustainability, adjustability, washability, hygienic and cooling features, and of course, great customer reviews. Its stuffed with a blend of kapok fibersa responsibly-sourced, natural plant material with a down-like feeland body-molding memory foam for a mix of cushiness and support. The cover is infused with copper, known for its hygienic and cooling properties and the fill can be removed or added to customize your comfort level. According to Layla, its the only pillow youll ever need, and thousands of 5-star reviewers agree.
What the reviews say: Without doubt, the most comfortable pillow I’ve ever used, says one buyer. I love the fact that I can remove or add the filling as needed. Somehow it manages to be soft, firm and cozy at the same time. It’s also malleableyou can press it into a shape that it will retain until you change it.
Best For Side Sleepers: Layla Kapok Pillow
Courtesy of Layla
Why We Like It: The Layla Kapok Pillow is a medium-firm, high-loft pillow to keep side sleepers heads higher and in line with their spine, thanks to a hypoallergenic fill of memory foam and natural Kapok fibers.
Its Worth Noting: This pillow is a good choice for side sleepers but is not ideal for back or stomach sleepers.
Side sleepers need a pillow with a higher loft , to bring their head up and in line with their spine, our experts say. The Laya Kapok pillow is filled with shredded memory foam and soft, all-natural Kapok fibers , creating a plush and airy feel while still being supportive. Kapok has a silky, cotton-like texture thats perfect for pillows because it naturally repels moisture. The pillow comes at a medium firmness, which is usually perfect for side sleepers, but you also have the ability to take out some of the fill if you want something softer.
This pillow also comes with a 120-night sleep trial so you can return it if it doesnt suit your sleep style, and is backed by a five-year warranty.
Price at time of publication: $109
- Fill material: Memory foam and Kapok fibers
- Firmness: Medium
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What Kind Of Pillow Is Best For Neck Pain
When it comes to finding the best pillow for neck pain, it is important to find one that is firm enough to support your neck and head, but soft enough to provide cushioning and comfort. Memory foam pillows are often recommended for those with neck pain, as the foam molds to your head and neck for extra support. Additionally, down or feather pillows provide good cushioning, while adjustable pillows are great for finding the most comfortable level of neck support. It is important to try out a few different pillows to find the one that works best for you.
If you want a more relaxing sleep option than pillows, you may want to consider sleeping without one. Some anecdotal reports suggest that sleeping without a pillow can alleviate neck and back pain for some people, despite the fact that research on this subject is limited. In terms of sleeping, stomach sleeping is the most appropriate position due to its lower angle of the neck, which promotes spinal alignment in this position. There are, however, other ways to support the spine and neck without sacrificing comfort while sleeping. Back sleepers should place a pillow underneath their knees to provide additional support, while side sleeping should place one pillow between their heads. The most important aspect in selecting a pillow is the sleeping position of the individual and their personal preference.