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Best Pillow For Side Sleeper And Neck Pain

How To Pick The Right Pillow For You

Best Pillow Chiropractor Approved for Neck Pain for Back and Side Sleepers

Still pressed about how to pick the perfect pillow? Heres what you might wanna consider:

  • Sleeping position. Are you a back, side, or stomach sleeper? Side sleepers tend to do better with thicker pillows because they help align the head and neck into a neutral position, while back sleepers usually benefit from a medium pillow that allows the neck to lay flat. As for stomach sleepers: They tend to do well with softer, flatter ones.
  • Back or neck pain. According to 2009 research, a contoured pillow may help ease cervical pain. Experts in the study advised against feather pillows for those with back or neck issues.
  • Height. A higher pillow might cause strain to your back or neck if you tend to sleep on your stomach or back, but it might be just the thing for side sleepers. If youre not sure about your ideal pillow height, consider an adjustable pillow. That way, you can adjust the fill as needed.
  • Cooling features. Tend to get sweaty during those sweet dreams? Look for a pillow with cooling features like a gel construction or breathable fabric cover.

How We Chose The Best Pillows For Neck Pain

We rounded up a list of top consumer-rated pillow options that can help relieve neck pain while you sleep.

We looked mainly for foam and latex pillows. Why? Because research suggests that these materials are helpful for people with neck pain. According to a 2020 study , latex and memory foam pillows may offer more support than traditional pillows and may help reduce neck fatigue.

Additionally, we looked for ergonomic pillows designed to provide ample cervical support without elevating the head too much. A 2021 study found that increased pillow height changes the way your spine curves and increases pressure in your cervical spine, or neck.

Finally, we still included several alternative pillow options, like models filled with down and buckwheat, since a foam pillow may not work for everyone.

Neck Pain Pillow Glossary

CertiPUR-US certified: This is a standard for polyurethane foams, including memory foam. Pillows that are CertiPUR-US certified are made without heavy metals, flame retardants, ozone depleters, phthalates, and formaldehyde. They also have low VOC emissions.

Hypoallergenic: Pillows that are less likely to cause allergic reactions are called hypoallergenic. In general, hypoallergenic pillows are made of synthetic materials, like foam or polyester. Bedding filled with down or other animal products is more likely to cause an allergic reaction. Currently, there is no certification process that a manufacturer must go through in order to call its pillows hypoallergenic.

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How Long Does A Pillow Last

Take pillows, for example. When is the last time you got a new one?

We should replace our standard pillows every one to two years. Most people wait until theyre sleeping on an old pillow thats flat as a pancake.

Not only can your pillow harbor smell and dirt but it can hold on to allergens as well.

As gross as this is, your old pillow makes a perfect home for dust mites

Your old pillow also can go very flat. The pressure from your head and neck and as you push and pull the pillow to get comfortable.

This continually mushes the pillow down until there is very little support left.

We know what youre thinking. You should get a new pillow, immediately.

Find The Best Pillows For Stomach Sleepers

Side Sleeper Pillow For Neck Shoulder Pain : Boughtnext

Please Note: This Post Contains Affiliate Links

For many of us, sleeping is very particular we have specific positions, preferred sides to sleep on, and even our preferred side of the bed. Some of us even have special, go-to pillows, too! This is especially true for those of us who sleep on our stomach because to be comfortable sleeping on your stomach, your pillow has to be just right. So, what are the best pillows for stomach sleepers? Here are a few recommendations.

According to our tests, the best pillow for stomach sleepers is the Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow. Its low loft is great for stomach sleepers because it helps keep your neck supported without over extending it. Its also a durable, comfortable pillow with cooling features, making it a great long term investment.

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What Kind Of Pillow Should A Side Sleeper Use

Jessalynn Adam, M.D., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at Baltimores Mercy Medical Center, suggests using a thicker pillow to keep your head and neck aligned if you sleep on your side. This can be achieved with any fill, including memory foam, down or cotton. So, consider your other sleep preferences: Do you love the contouring feel of memory foam? The luxe loftiness of down? How about a cooling sensation when your head hits the pillow? Considering these factors will help you make your final decision.

How To Choose The Best Pillow For Neck Pain

The best pillows for neck pain are not a one-size-fits-all solution. When shopping for a new pillow, you should consider what type of sleeper you are, whether that’s a back sleeper or a side sleeper, and the type of mattress you sleep on. You should consider:

  • Sleeping position: If you’re a side sleeper, you’ll need a firmer pillow that can retain its height over the course of the night. If you’re a back sleeper, opt for a pillow with less depth and density so it’s not forcing your spine out of alignment while you sleep.
  • Mattress type: Some mattresses are firmer than others, so it’s important you choose a pillow that matches and offers the right support, advises osteopath Caroline Baker . “A softer mattress could benefit from being paired with a firmer pillow. However, if you use this same pillow in conjunction with a super firm mattress, you could be met with a loftier combination that will do your neck and spine alignment no favors.”
  • Material: A 2020 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health shows pillows made from latex or memory foam offer the best neck and shoulder support. Caroline also advises taking note of the label on pillows you’ve loved at family and friends’ houses, or hotels, for inspiration on the type of material and firmness you like best.
  • Bounce: “You want to look for a pillow that bounces back, and one that feels like it slots into your neck and therefore supports your head,” says Joshi.

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Best Pillow For Back Pain

Usually when back pain is an issue for you, its typically caused by your pelvis not having enough support and causing your spine to be misaligned. In this case, a down alternative pillow can be placed under your hips to provide you with extra support. These types of foam pillows are ideal for pelvic support because they need to be a bit more flat in the middle to enhance spinal alignment.

Best Pillows For Side Sleepers Video

The Best Pillows for Side Sleepers (Top 7!) – Can These Stop Neck Pain?

Watch our video below to learn more about our labs top picks for pillows for side sleepers.

We provide an overview about each of our picks, covering features that set each pillow apart from the competition. Further down, well take a closer look at how pillows affect side sleeping and offer a few tips for choosing a pillow based on thickness, material composition, price, and other factors.

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Labor Day is now behind us, but many companies are still offering major holiday discounts. Check our product reviews below for discount information. You can also head to our list of Labor Day deals and discounts.

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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.

What Causes Neck Pain At Night

Generally speaking, neck pain can be caused by an awkward sleeping position. Of course, what is considered awkward will vary significantly from person to person, as all of our bodies are unique. When stomach or side sleeping, it’s easy to slide into an odd position or turn your head at an angle that could cause your neck muscles to cramp.

However, you probably already know what kind of sleeping position is comfortable for you at night, and what type of pillow may lead to neck pain for you. You know your body better than anyone, so trust your instinct when trying to settle into a comfortable sleep position each night.

When shopping for a good option for sleeping, you should be looking for a pillow material that is going to make it easy for you to find a comfortable sleeping position for your head and neck. If you like to have your head well up off of the mattress, that may mean choosing a firm option such as memory foam pillows. Or, if you prefer to lay mostly flat, you might like a softer choice.

Whatever the case, always keep your personal needs and preferences in mind as you shop. The reviews of other buyers are helpful, but their opinions should never get in the way of making a choice that is right for you, as your sleeping positions and preferences may vary.

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The Cause Of Discomfort In Your Neck

Sitting for hours at the desk, staring at the smartphone or computer screen, too much stress, too little exercise do you recognize yourself? Its often a consequence of our lifestyle. But even severe illness or mental health problems can be behind it. Learn more about the causes of this pain and what you can do about it.

Most people experience neck pain from one moment to the next: an incorrect sleeping position or movement during exercise, drafts and also stress can lead to muscle cramping and sharp pains in the neck, which sometimes radiate into the shoulders, head, and arms. However, these situational circumstances are only triggers but not the leading causes.

Neck pain: possible causes

There are many causes but a grave reason is rare. In most cases, tension is responsible for the discomfort.

Possible causes at a glance:

How Often Should You Replace Your Pillow

The 10 Best Pillows For Side Sleepers

“Many doctors recommend replacing pillows every two years,” Dautovich says. Odors, stains, lumps, and flattening are all signs that it might be time to replace your pillow. Increased neck pain or allergy symptoms can also be signs that your pillow is no longer serving you. When cleaning, be sure to refer to the care label on your pillow to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

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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.

Other Tips For Sleepers With Neck Pain

In addition to choosing the right pillow, you can reduce neck pain through lifestyle changes like adopting proper posture, taking stretching breaks, and generally being more active. People who experience neck pain should avoid shoulder bags, slouching, and long periods of sitting at the computer.

  • Choose the Right Mattress: Your bodys overall position is influenced not only by your pillow, but also your mattress. Plusher mattresses allow your body to sink down further, meaning youll need a lower-loft pillow. The opposite holds true for firmer mattresses, which will require a higher pillow to maintain proper alignment of the neck and spine.
  • Engage in Physical Therapy: From daily habits to more serious regimens, there are plenty of exercises you can do to relax your neck muscles and relieve strain on the neck, shoulders, and upper back. A certified massage therapist or chiropractor may also be able to help. Always consult a health professional before starting any kind of treatment.
  • Use Ice or Heat: Many people with neck pain receive instant relief from a hot or cold compress, or from taking a warm shower. This may not cure your neck problems, but it can be a helpful short-term solution.

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How To Choose A Pillow As A Side Sleeper

To best keep your head, neck, and back in neutral alignment, look for a medium-firm to extra-firm pillow that keeps your head around 3 to 4 inches above the mattress. Pillows that have wide side gussets are better at maintaining this height over time.

You may also want to look for a pillow that wont go flat over time.

If youre looking to avoid certain chemicals, like volatile organic compounds , look for brands whose pillows use CertiPUR-US or Greenguard Gold certified materials to narrow down your options.

More Pillows For Side Sleepers To Consider

Best Pillows for Side Sleepers – More Support To Avoid Neck Pain!

RestHavenShreddedMemoryFoamPillows: We were impressed with how cool these pillows remained during testing, especially considering you get two for such a low price. They make a great budget alternative to more expensive shredded memory foam pillows, but they were a bit too small to fill out our standard pillowcases.

AvocadoGreen Pillow: Made from 100 percent organic materials, this shredded latex pillow is both firm and soft at the same time. The zipper was a bit finicky, but this was the only pillow we tested that didn’t rise in temperature at all after 15 minutes of use.

Tuft & Needle Original Foam Pillow: This responsive, solid memory foam pillow is comparable to our best cooling pick in terms of structure and support. It features cooling gel beads to trap and pull away heat, but it’s worth mentioning that our tester didn’t notice a significant difference in temperature while laying on it.

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What Is The Best Pillow For Side Sleepers With Neck Pain

Side sleepers make up more than half of the American population, so we’re not surprised to see this question so frequently!Side sleepers with neck pain really need to focus on finding a pillow that has enough loft and height to support the 4″ to 6″ gap that resides between the top of the shoulder and the side of one’s head and neck.When the head and neck are properly supported and the shoulder does not have increased pressure on it, the neck can stay free from tensions and stress and neck pain should go away.The goal is to look at oneself in a side sleeping position and see a straight line from the forehead, nose, chin down to the neck and sternum – this means neutral alignment is achieved.

How Thick Should A Pillow Be For Side Sleepers

Generally, side sleepers should aim for a pillow thats 3 to 6 inches thick the goal is to keep your head and neck in a straight line with your spine. That said, your pillow shouldnt be so high that it makes your head tilt, nor should it be so low that it collapses toward your shoulders.

If youre unsure or if your preferences change, adjustable pillows are a smart choice for all sleepers. These include the Leesa Hybrid, the Drift Side Sleeper Pillow, the Layla Kapok Pillow and the Coop Adjustable Loft Pillow, all on this list.

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What To Consider When Looking For A Pillow

We asked a physical therapist and a sleep posture researcher all about the most important qualities in a pillow that will relieve neck pain. Overall, research shows that the ideal pillow for neck pain should be soft but not too high, provide neck support, and be allergy-tested and washable. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of what to look for:

What Is A Latex Mattress

Best Pillow Side Sleeper Neck Pain

Mattresses that contain at least one latex layer qualify as a latex mattress. Some will have multiple layers of latex or even latex in the support core. Latex mattresses can be all natural, synthetic, or a combination of both.

Some companies use Dunlop latex, others Talalay, both of which refer to the process used to manufacture them. These processes affect the overall feel of the mattress. Dunlop latex is poured all at once into a mold and after settling, ends up somewhat denser on the bottom and softer on the top. Talalay, on the other hand, is infused with air when molded, so it has a lighter feel and more uniform consistency throughout. This process also makes the Talalay variety slightly more expensive.

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What Material Is Best For Side Sleepers

The ideal pillow material for side sleepers is medium-firm to extra-firm rather than soft. Down and down alternatives may be too soft for those who sleep mostly on their sides. Foam, like latex and memory foam, offers a more supportive surface for side sleepers.

Keep in mind, though, that your preference also plays a part. Despite being fans of side sleeping, some people prefer softer, down-filled pillows and sleep with two pillows instead of one.


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