Waking up in the morning with a pain in the neck is an awful feeling. Not only does a kink in the neck make it hard to move, sending stabbing pains down the arms or back, it is often the reason for headaches, ranging from dull to migraine level. Morning neck pain can last all day, and can even be the reason for back aches, sciatica, arm and leg numbness, and usually leaves people feeling irritable and tired.
Table of Contents
- What Causes Nightly Neck Pain?
- Top 10 Best Pillows for Neck Pain Review
- How to Choose the Best Pillow for Neck Pain
- Sleeping & Neck Pain FAQs
- Q: Is my pillow the cause of my neck pain?
- Q: If I get a new pillow can I expect my neck pain to decrease?
- Q: I have neck pain, what pillow do I need?
- Q: What type of pillow will make my neck pain worse?
- Q:Which type of sleeper(s) should have firmer pillows?
- Q: How does my mattress play a role in neck pain while I sleep?
- Q: What is the best sleeping position for neck pain?
- Tips for Avoiding Neck Pain
- Final thoughts
What Causes Nightly Neck Pain?
People often blame their mattress when they wake up with neck pain, but it is rarely the fault of the mattress or a person’s sleeping position. When you wake up with neck pain, it is usually because you slept with the wrong pillow. Having the right pillow to avoid neck pain is a vital necessity for getting a good night’s sleep.
The reason for this is simple. The neck is made of up muscles, tendons, cartilage and just seven tiny bones. What’s more, those seven bones are all a part of one single column of bones—the cervical portion of the spine. As small as these bones are, not even connected directly to each other, but sitting on a bed of fluid, they are responsible for protecting one of the most vital parts of our anatomy—the central nervous system, as well as supporting the head and allowing us free movement of the head and neck.
Inside the cervical column, nerves run up and down from brain to all parts of the body. While any part of the spine can be compressed or pinched, causing various degrees of pain or numbness, the neck is the most vulnerable, especially during the night when we are asleep. Keeping the neck in line with our heads and back is one of the best ways to prevent injury, stiffness and pain in the morning, and the best way to keep our neck straight is to have the right support system—a good, solid neck pain support pillow.
Top 10 Best Pillows for Neck Pain Review
#1 Coop Home Goods Original & Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow
Coop Home Goods Original
Coop Home Goods Eden
Reaching the number one spot for neck pain pillows is no easy feat. Yet two pillows from Coop Home Goods have made the cut: the Coop Home Goods Original & Coop Home Goods Eden Pillow. To find out why, read on.
First of all, all the Coop Home Goods pillows come with additional filling which means users can immediately begin adjusting the loft of their pillow to promote a good night’s sleep, free from neck pain.
These Coop Home Goods pillows also come packed with a unique combination of memory foam and microfiber which gives them a down-like feel, while offering superior support.
Both pillows have machine washable, breathable, Lulltra fabric covers as well, which help the user stay cool, as well as supported during the night. They also both come with Coop Home Goods 100 night sleep trial which lets you return to the pillows if you don’t find that it suits your individual needs, basically making trying these pillows a risk-free option.
Indeed, the only real difference between the Coop Home Goods Original & Coop Home Goods Eden is that the latter is a softer option, while the former is designed for users that prefer a medium-firm pillow.
In summary, this makes the Coop Original Pillow best for a side sleeper with neck pain because of its increased support, while those with neck pain that like to sleep on their back or stomach may prefer the softer Eden option.
#2 UTTU Sandwich Pillow
Designed with side sleepers in mind, (but also good for those that sleep on their side or their back too) the generously sized (23.6″×14″) ergonomic UTTU Sandwich Pillow is one of the best on the market.
It is a particularly good choice for neck pain because of its mix of useful features. The first of these is that the UTTU Sandwich Pillow comes with an adjustable loft. This means it’s easy to choose how much stuffing is inside, and how high or low the pillow is. Of course, this is great because it means it’s fast and straightforward to customize the pillow for the user’s individual needs, something that is particularly crucial when it comes to relieving neck pain. After all, the neck and back must be kept in line to minimize pain and discomfort using the night.
Also, the UTTU Sandwich Pillow is crafted from dynamic foam which contours to the shape of the body, and stays consistently firm no matter what the temperature, meaning you know you can rely on the consistent comfort and support of this pillow at all times.
The UTTU Sandwich Pillow also includes a cooling cover made from a machine washable bamboo blend, which when combined with the other features makes it a great buy for those struggling with neck pain and looking for a more comfortable night’s sleep.
#3 WonderSleep Premium Adjustable Loft With Stay Cool Material
Made from washer-safe, breathable, bamboo-derived, material, the WonderSleep Premium is a pillow that is not only designed to support the neck but also keeps users from getting hot and bothered during the night. This makes it ideal for anyone that is struggling to get a night’s sleep good enough to help them better manage their neck pain in the day.
Aside from its cooling properties, the WonderSleep Premium is ideal for those suffering from neck pain because it’s entirely customizable. This means you can easily remove or add more of the cloud-like 100% memory foam stuffing to get the perfect height and shape that will cradle and support your neck all night.
#4 ZAMAT Contour Memory Foam Pillow
There is no one size fits all pillow for those of us that suffer from neck pain. Fortunately, the ZAMAT Contour Memory Foam Pillow (medium soft) addresses this and allows for plenty of customization. Indeed, with its super soft memory foam inserts, you can choose how high low you would like your pillow to be. ZAMAT will even send you extra inserts if you want an even higher loft for your comfort!
The adjustable loft isn’t the only benefit of this pillow though, as it also comes complete with a cervical design contoured to support the curve of your neck while sleeping, and helping align your spine throughout the night. Indeed, the design and customizable nature of this pillow, means that it’s great not only for those with neck pain but side, stomach, and back sleepers too.
Also unlike plenty of other pillows on the market, the ZAMAT boasts high quality, odorless memory foam, which means you won’t have to waste time degassing (airing out) your pillow before you can use it.
#5 EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow
The EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow Orthopedic Sleeping Pillow wins the most support because of its unique ergonomic design. This pillow is contoured to offer maximum support to the user’s neck, head, back, and shoulders and includes a divet in which to rest your head as well as additional cervical support for the neck.
It’s also crafted from hypoallergenic, chemical-free, breathable memory foam, which helps the user drift off into a deep sleep and wake up refreshed and ready to take on the day in the morning. Finally, if you aren’t 100% happy with this pillow EPABO offers a full 30-day money-back guarantee!
#6 Dream Rite Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Priced at an unbelievably low $25.99, the Dream Rite Shredded Hypoallergenic Memory Foam Pillow WonderSleep Series is the cheapest pillow for neck pain on the market. Dream Rite claims it’s suitable for side, and back sleepers too, but does this pillow do everything it promises? The answer is a resounding yes, as this Dream Rite pillow shares features with many of the more pricey options on the market.
The first of these is that it comes with an 80% – 20% memory foam, and polyester fiber filling, something that makes it much softer than a pillow with memory foam alone. Additionally, the filling is removable so that means the user can customize the exact loft of the pillow to their needs. Finally, like many of the other more expensive pillows reviewed in this post, the Dream Rite Shredded Hypoallergenic Memory Foam Pillow WonderSleep Series is also hypoallergenic, which makes it an excellent buy for the money.
#7 Zoey Sleep Side Sleeper Pillow
Another pillow worthy of a top ten spot, albeit at number 7, is the Zoey Sleep Side Sleeper Pillow. Designed for those that want a more comfortable experience when sleeping on their side, this pillow is contoured to cradle the natural shape of your neck and shoulders.
The Zoey Sleep Side Sleeper Pillow is also designed with adjustable firmness and loft, making it ideal for users that have specific individual needs.
Unlike many other memory foam pillows on the market, the Zoey Sleep Side Sleeper Pillow is CertiPUR-US and OEKO Certified which makes them low odor and family safe.
#8 Snuggle-Pedic Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow
Number 8 of the top ten best pillows for neck pain is the Snuggle-Pedic Adjustable Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Cooling Bamboo Cover. Like many of the other pillows mentioned in this post, the Snuggle-Pedic Pillow comes with filling that can be removed at will. This means users can adjust the loft and the firmness of the pillow with ease.
The filling itself is shredded memory foam, which many users report is more comfortable than the often hard lumps provided in other pillows. All the materials in the Snuggle-Pedic Pillow are GreenGuard Gold Certified too, which means quality, comfort, and safety are guaranteed.
#9 Beckham Hotel Gel Pillow for Back, Stomach, or Side Sleepers
In the number 9 spot we have the Beckham Hotel Collection Cooling, Luxury Gel Pillow for Back, Stomach, or Side Sleepers, and this is a pillow that most definitely deserves a mention because of its unique filling.
These gel pillows contain a soft alternative to down that isn’t memory foam which means it’s super comfortable and it will spring back into position after use. This pillow also includes a luxurious 250 thread count pillowcase, that will keep you comfortable and cool through the night. Ideal for stomach, back, or side sleepers, the Beckham Hotel Collection Cooling, Luxury Gel Pillow is a great choice for all.
#10 DreamyBlue Premium Pillow for Sleeping
Last but certainly not least there is the DreamyBlue Premium Pillow for Sleeping. This pillow definitely deserves a post in the 10 pillows for neck pain because it has so many positive features.
The first of these is that DreamyBlue offers its own type of filling, which is made from brand new, shredded memory foam. The benefit of this unique filling is that it provides the softness of down, with the support of memory foam, which makes for a peaceful and comfortable night’s sleep. It also makes the DreamyBlue Premium ideal for a range of sleepers because the filling can be removed for those sleeping on their stomach, or added for those that sleep on their sides.
Like most of the other pillows for neck pain reviewed in this post, the DreamyBlue Premium also allows quick and easy customization. All the user needs to do is add or remove filling via the easy access zipper.
However, unlike many of the other pillows mentioned in this review, the DreamyBlue Premium comes with an entire free bag of filling so you can experiment until you have the perfect firmness and loft for your specific needs. Also unlike many of the other pillows mentioned, the DreamyBlue Premium offers a lifetime replacement warranty, which means if the user is unhappy with their purchase at any time, it will be replaced. They don’t even ask you to send the old pillow back!
- Top 10 Best Pillows For Side Sleepers With Neck Support
- Best Pillows For Stomach Sleepers Reviews
- Sleep Away Your Neck Pain
- Things Side Sleepers Need to Know to Get a Good Night’s Rest
- How to Clean a Memory Foam Pillow
- Guides to choosing the best mattress for Back, Stomach, Side Sleepers (Top 10 rated mattresses will be included)
How to Choose the Best Pillow for Neck Pain
Now you have discovered ten of the best pillows for neck pain on the market, it’s time to consider your specific needs. Indeed, there are several factors that you will need to think about when choosing a pillow that can help to relieve your neck pain and provide you with a more comfortable night’s sleep including the shape, the thickness or loft, the materials it’s made from, as well as the position you tend to sleep in.
First of all, remember that support, but a soft and squishy pillow may not be the most comfortable in the long term. Indeed, a very soft pillow is best for those that sleep on their stomachs as it will provide the least support and so help keep the spin in line during the night. However, for those sleeping on their side or backs, some additional firmness will be necessary to support the neck. Often the best type of neck support is provided by a best cervical pillow which is shaped to contour and cradle the neck and so protect it as you sleep.
Also, the shape of the pillow you choose to help relieve your neck pain matters as well. There are many different pillow shapes on offer from cervical, to wedge, and other ergonomic shapes that contain divots for the head to rest in. Some people even like to combine two different shaped pillows for maximum comfort and neck support.
Last, of all, it’s crucial to consider the loft of the pillow you choose. Loft(thickness) of the pillow and how it holds your head in the right position compared to the position of your spine. Some pillows come with an adjustable loft which means you can add or remove the filling to make them higher(thicker), lower(thinner). Of course, being able to customize the loft of your pillow is fundamental because if it’s too high or too low your neck can be forced into the wrong angle, aggravating strain and soreness.
Sleeping & Neck Pain FAQs
As previously stated, there is no one cause of neck pain and no one-size-fits-all solution. However, you can educate yourself on some of the most frequently asked questions, and answers relating to sleep and neck pain, and then use this information to help you better select a pillow that will suit your needs.
Q: Is my pillow the cause of my neck pain?
A: Maybe! Although it’s impossible to say for sure. Yet the wrong pillow can affect the alignment of your spine while you sleep which could, in turn, aggravate neck injuries, strain, and pain.
Q: If I get a new pillow can I expect my neck pain to decrease?
A: Likely, yes! As you can see from many of the independent reviews included above, many people have experienced a decrease or complete resolution to their neck pain by finding the right type of pillow. Of course, the real magic happens when you find that one pillow (or a combo of pillows) that suits your individual needs.
Although, do remember that not all neck pain is caused by your pillow, and if it persists it’s always worth speaking to your doctor to rule out any underlying issues.
Q: I have neck pain, what pillow do I need?
A: It does depend on the individual. Studies suggest that memory foam is the most supportive. However, some experimentation entails finding a fit that works for you.
Q: What type of pillow will make my neck pain worse?
A: As a great deal of neck pain is caused because of undue pressure placed on the cervical spine a pillow that is too tall (lofty) can aggravate any issues. It’s best to let comfort be your guide here.
Q:Which type of sleeper(s) should have firmer pillows?
A: Back and side sleepers typically require firmer pillows.
Q: How does my mattress play a role in neck pain while I sleep?
A: Your body’s overall position is influenced by your pillow and your mattress. Plusher mattresses cause your body to sink down which means you’ll need a lower-loft pillow. A firm mattress will require a higher pillow to maintain proper alignment of the neck and spine.
Q: What is the best sleeping position for neck pain?
A: The best positions for dealing with and relieving neck pain are side with elevated neck or back with two pillows.
Tips for Avoiding Neck Pain
While investing in the right pillow can work wonders for your neck pain, there are also many other strategies that you can use to minimize or avoid it altogether.
In particular, paying attention to your posture and providing yourself with regular breaks to stitch and walk around, usually when using the computer, is vital in preventing neck issues. Proper posture means engaging your core as you sit, with your shoulders back and your chin slightly tucked.
Wearing a bag on a single shoulder is also a bad idea if you are suffering from or wish to avoid neck pain. This is because your body will try to compensate for the strain, and in so doing your muscles and joints are more likely to become unaligned.
As well as the type of pillow you choose, the mattress that you use will also affect any pain you are experiencing in your neck. Soft mattresses may feel great to the touch, but they don’t offer as much support as their firmer counterparts. This means it’s all too easy for your spin to get out of alignment. If you do find yourself on a softer mattress be sure to use a pillow with a lower loft as this will help keep everything aligned and preserve your neck.
Neck pain can often be caused by stiffness of the muscles surrounding it and that means by doing some exercise you may be able to alleviate it. Of course, it’s important that you pick the right kind of activities and start slowly, and with the permission of your doctor. If reading to the gym or yoga seems a bit much right now, you may wish to consider getting some physical therapy in the form of massage or manipulation from a chiropractor instead.
Last of all, while the use of hot and cold compresses rarely ensures neck pain altogether, they can work very well in offering short-term relief. There are many hot and cold compresses on the market, or you could even follow the guide above to DIY your own.
The pillows listed here are all great options for getting rid of neck pain while enjoying the ultimate in luxury and comfort. They are an important purchase for anyone who regularly experiences neck pain when waking up, or difficulty dealing with neck pain during the day. Making the wrong choice in neck pain pillows can do more harm than good. It can add to the problem and make you more miserable than you were without it. So, make sure you choose the pillow that matches your sleep position, size needs and filling preference.
Whether you suffer from sleep position neck pain, or chronic neck pain from an injury or illness, these pillows listed here will help provide relief and offer you a great night’s sleep. Click on the links above to buy them from Amazon.com to get the added benefit of great prices and quick shipping.
Last update on 2022-07-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API