In Depth Review And Process
For decades, I had been sleeping on whatever pillow I found at the department store. When moving residences, I would pick pillows that felt good at the store, but they didnt perform when I had to sleep on them for eight hours a night. Finally, I decided to systematically go through a process of testing different pillows. I went through this process and ranked the pillows I found via the following method:
- Effectiveness at reducing neck pain
- Return policy / warranty
Overall, the best pillow I slept on by far was the Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow. We enjoyed sleeping on the Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic pillow in all three sleep positions thanks to the innovative shape and design. The contour aligns your neck and back, which reduces pain, snoring, and gives you the best night of sleep ever. We also found it significantly cooler than the other pillows that we tested. I highly recommend this pillow as my top pick, especially for side-sleepers or people who sleep in a combination of positions.
Why Is My Pillow Making My Neck Hurt
If your pillow doesn’t support your head and neck properly , it can create tension in your neck muscles which in turn causes neck pain. Research shows that a pillow with good neck support can help to relieve pain and improve posture – so they kind of do what they say on the tin. Its a no-brainer that help in all these areas means a better nights sleep, and who wouldnt want that? So, yes, neck pillows are good for you.
While you may not necessarily have any achy joints now, its always better to be safe than sorry. Youll thank yourself later for purchasing a pillow for neck pain instead of a standard pillow, and so will your future self’s corrected spine alignment. Think about it keeping everything in check now means that you wont need to further down the line. Theres nothing quite like resting your head down on a plush, fluffy pillow – but is it best for your body? If you wake up with any form of stiffness, chances are you need a pillow for neck pain. Technically it’s called a cervical pillow and provides cervical support for the nerves extending out from the spinal cord – talk about chiropractic know-how, eh?
What Is Neck Pain
- Muscle spasms
- Poor sleep quality
If you have severe pain or additional symptoms, or if youre not sure whats causing your neck pain, its a good idea to visit a doctor to rule out underlying conditions.
Regular exercise and a healthy body weight are thought to have a positive impact on chronic neck pain. The American Chiropractic Association notes that neck pain often goes hand-in-hand with high stress levels and obesity.
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Pillows And Neck Pain Summary
Overall, neck pain sufferers should make sure their pillow is a good match for their sleeping position and anatomy. Pillows come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials and you may need to experiment with different options through some trial and error. Adjustable loft pillows take some the risk away since you can fine-tune the height of the pillow to your liking – a feature we’ve come to love at StartSleeping. If you’re looking to learn more about sleep and the studies we’ve referenced in this guide, check them out here:
How Do You Pick The Right Neck Pillow Exactly
So you have your mind set on buying a neck pillow. Wondering what to do next before you click add to cart? The following is what you can keep in mind when picking out the best neck pillow for you, according to experts.
Okay, now that youre all caught up on the details of picking out the best neck pillow for you, its time to get into the nitty-gritty. The following are the 15 best pillows for neck pain, according to doctors and rave reviews.
If you have allergies, a good pillow that does wonders for your neck will only help so much. But what if I told you that you can sleep soundly knowing that both your neck and nose will be at peace?
Enter: Pacific Coast’s cushiony pillow-in-a-pillow is made specifically to block dust mites and allergens without using any chemicals. Plus, it boasts support for every kind of sleeperside, back, belly, you name itso neck pain is not even a possibility.
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Can A Pillow Cause Neck Pain
In a word, yes. For instance, Wu pointed out that if a pillow has too much loft, your head will bend forward too much when sleeping on your back, overstretching the back of your neck. If there’s too little loft, your head tilts back and overstretches the front of your neck.
The key is to find a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position. The best way to know if a pillow will keep your spine aligned and in a neutral position is to sleep on it. That’s why Wu recommends choosing pillows with long trial periods.
The Wrong Loft Pillow
Flat pillows often cause necks to crane out of alignment, creating knots and muscle tension. Remember, always make sure your pillow promotes a neutral alignment. When resting on your side, your ears should line up with your shoulders and your chin should align with your sternum. Back and stomach sleepers, youll want to ensure your necks line up with your sternums as well.
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Is It Worth It To Consider Pillows Under $50
I personally do not think it is best to consider the options under $50. You will likely save money in the long run because the manufacturers of cheaper pillows tend to cut corners these pillows also generally do not last as long. If you get the right pillow , youll likely save money in the long run.
As an example, some memory foam pillows tend to use lower quality foam, which results in worse pillows. Down and down alternative pillows under $50 tend to use more quills than down clusters, which results in a pillow that will poke you. A lot of cheaper pillows also skimp out on the filling, which causes the pillows to provide less support and feel flat.
It is worth it to invest in a higher quality pillow especially when you consider how much impact a better pillow can have on your sleep quality. The right pillow can help your sleep as much, if not more, than a new mattress .
This pillow is the top of the top, crème de la crème. I used to think it was normal to toss and turn in the middle of the night, but the innovative shape and the quality of the materials of the Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic pillow stopped that for me. The innovative shape really works wonders to keep my neck and back aligned, and I was so surprised by how much deeper my sleep was with this pillow. When testing this pillow, I woke up so much more well-rested.
When I lay my head down on this pillow, it feels a bit too firm. While I feel supported, the foam kind of hurt my ears .
What Were Looking For:
Firmness and fill: Supportive pillows, which the experts we spoke to agree are the best option for people with neck pain, tend to be on the firmer side of the pillow spectrum. According to Dr. Schuler, Those with neck or back pain will find that both medium-firm mattresses and pillows provide the best support at night. Medium-firm pillows cradle your head and help your body stay in a neutral position and alignment while you snooze. While our experts clearly favor firmer pillows for neck support, Foley explains that people should also consider their mattress type and head weight. The right pillow firmness for you will depend on how heavy your head is, how high the pillow is, what position you tend to sleep in, and the firmness of your mattress, she says. The type of fill your pillow has will also affect the firmness level. Memory foam, latex, and wool tend to create a firmer sleeping surface while down, feather-fill, polyfill, kapok, and cotton materials are softer and more plush.
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What Pillow Do Chiropractors Recommend
We asked chiropractor about what he recommends when it comes to pillow shopping. “Its important to get the right pillow as we spend up to a third of our life time in bed, so thats a lot of time influencing our posture passively,” Keel explains.
“Our neck has a natural C curve that needs supporting so that our neck joints are not unduly stressed if were lying on our back. On our sides we need enough support to maintain the imaginary line from the base of our skull to the tip of our tail bone. Pillows can definitely help cause and help cure neck problems, so getting one thats right for you is key.
“If you sleep on your side buy a pillow that is thick enough and dense enough to maintain its depth throughout the night. Too high and the neck will kink upwards and too low it will kink downwards.
“If you can sleep exclusively on your back then you don’t need as much pillow depth as for on your side. A pillow with less density will allow you to snuggle your head comfortably so that its not raised up causing you to lose the natural curve of your neck spine.”
Keel recommends that you don’t sleep on your front or front side, so as not to cause too much neck rotation.
“The pillow you choose will depend somewhat on the quality and softness of your mattress, your body shape and size, so try some out in the shop before buying if you can,” he explains. Alternatively, look for one with a trial policy so you know its right before committing.
Best Sleeping Positions For Neck Pain
Generally, if youre experiencing neck pain, its best to sleep on your back or side.
Sleeping on your stomach, especially if youre sleeping with a pillow thats too thick, can put excess pressure on your cervical spine and cause neck pain.
Keep your neck aligned with your body. You may want to place a pillow under your knees to keep your spine in proper alignment.
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What To Look For In A Pillow If You Have Neck Pain
If you suffer from neck pain, or would simply like to avoid it by having proper support, there are some specific qualities you should lookout for when shopping for the right pillow. Its always beneficial to test a pillow out before buying to confirm it will give you the support you need. A supportive pillow will keep your neck in a neutral position as you sleep, no matter what position you may be in. Youll want a pillow that is durable, does not sink, and fills the space between your head, neck, and back.
Outside of age, the filling used in a pillow will best determine the level of support, durability and loft it provides. There are a variety of materials that are used to make the best pillows for neck pain that each come with their own set of pros and cons:
Memory foam pillows, known for their comfort and contour, are a great pillow for reducing neck pain by offering adequate support. One of the greatest benefits of sleeping with a memory foam pillow is their ability to respond quickly and easily to changes in body position and leaving no space between the neck, head, and back. They are also easy to care for and durable. Memory foam has traditionally received a bad rap for trapping heat but advances in the product development of foam has largely resolved this issue.
Best Down Alternative: Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow
This pillows fill is a mix of gel-infused memory foam and microfiber. The company writes that it is a supportive alternative to down fill and may be suitable for people who are allergic to down or lead a vegan lifestyle.
A purchase comes with extra filling so a person can add or remove as much as they like to create a height that suits their needs.
Additionally, the pillow features a 100% polyester lining and a breathable pillowcase made from a blend of polyester and bamboo-derived viscose rayon.
Its memory foam holds CertiPUR-US and Greenguard Gold certifications.
According to the company, this pillow is hypoallergenic and the cover is washable.
The pros and cons a person can consider include:
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Choosing The Right Materials To Guard Against Neck Pain
Once youve settled on the right loft and firmness, its time to focus on the material details. From foam to feathers, pillows can be filled with all kinds of materials So lets explore some of the most popular ones below:
If youre still not totally sure which material sounds right for you, dont worry were about to get up close and personal with each one. But before we do, theres one last thing to consider: when to replace your pillow.
Dreamcloud Best Rest Memory Foam Pillow
Neck pain can be even more aggravating if youre sleeping hot. Thats why anyone who struggles to stay cool at night should look into the DreamCloud Best Rest Memory Foam Pillow. In addition to cradling the head and taking pressure off of the neck with its deep-contouring memory foam, it has a breathable cover and an infusion of coppergel. Both of these traits help the pillow and thus the person sleep incredibly cool.
Full DreamCloud Best Rest Pillow review coming soon!
Price: $99-$129, with a 50-night trial period.
Perfect For: Anyone who wants to stay cool while soothing their neck pain.
A contouring pillow with a dash of coppergel for extra cooling!
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Neck Pain And Its Relation To Sleep Quality
Neck pain can involve discomfort in the muscles, bones, nerves, joints, and the discs between the bones. It can cause difficulty in movement.
Sometimes, a chronic health condition, such as fibromyalgia, causes neck pain. In other cases, it can occur as a result of an accident.
While periodic discomfort in your neck isnt typically something to worry about, its important to seek medical care if your symptoms dont go away within a week or escalate to other areas of your body.
Its difficult to sleep when youre experiencing any kind of pain, including chronic neck pain. You might toss and turn all night to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Researchers in a that evaluated teens found that neck pain was linked to poor sleep quality in this age group.
for the neck and upper quadrant.
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 I 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.
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What Is An Orthopedic Pillow
A lot of different pillows are stamped orthopedic but there is no one set definition of what that means. However, you can be safe assuming that some sort of thought process went into designing a construction that can help you maintain proper alignment while sleeping.
Some of these choices incorporated clinical data and input from spine specialists to create a pillow that can support your head, neck and shoulders so that your sleeping posture remains straight, helping to keep your spine aligned and alleviate chronic neck pain.
It’s likely a safe bet that the best pillows for neck pain will fall into this category.
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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What Kind Of Pillow Do Chiropractors Recommend
The best pillow will vary from person to person. Chiropractors will recommend pillows based on a persons particular needs, taking into account their sleep preferences and any health conditions or injuries they have.
According to a , a visco-elastic polyurethane pillow could be useful in conjunction with chiropractic treatment to reduce neck pain.
Best Pillow For Stomach Sleepers With Neck Pain
Pros: The low loft is great for stomach sleepers, easy-to-clean cover, lifetime warranty
Cons: Not recommended for side or back sleepers, short trial, you can’t adjust the loft
At 2.5 inches, the Belly Sleep Gel Infused Memory Foam Pillow offers the lowest loft of the pillows we tested, making it ideal for stomach sleepers. While you can’t adjust the loft, the gel memory foam is pliable enough to fold in half to get extra lift if you occasionally shift to your side.
Insider Reviews senior reporter Owen Burke suffers from neck pain and has tested several thin pillows designed for stomach sleepers but was never impressed by them. At times, he’d even give up and rest his head on his shoulder without a pillow.
Right away, Burke appreciated the Belly Sleeper’s ability to gently adapt to the curvature of his head and neck. He also found the machine-washable cover was particularly soothing under his usual pillowcase. “Overall, I’m sleeping far better, longer, and much more comfortably than any other time in recent memory,” he said.
I also tested the Belly Sleep pillow. I found it comfortable enough when falling asleep on my stomach, but when I wanted to shift to my preferred side-sleeping position, it did not provide enough loft. When I folded the pillow, it just felt too awkward. You may want to choose a different pillow if you don’t primarily sleep on your stomach.
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