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Home / Best Pillows of 2021 / Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Medically Reviewed by:

Dr. Jenny Iyo


Written by

Lauren Fountain

Neck pain plagues a significant amount of Americans, and the causes aren’t always entirely clear. If you often find yourself waking up with a sore neck, chances are your pillow could be partly to blame.

The job of your pillow is to hold your neck and head at the right height to prevent unnecessary strain. A pillow that’s too high or too low, or which fails to support the neck itself, can cause pressure to build up as the neck tries to compensate for the lack of support. While your sleep setup might not be the original root of your neck pain, it can play an important role in making it better or worse.

We’ll break down the reasons you could be experiencing neck pain and how your pillow can help. Ultimately, the best pillow for neck pain is the one that works for you. However, we’ll also share our top picks for pillows that stand out for their ability to reduce neck pain.

The Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Product Details

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

Best Overall

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

TEMPUR-Neck Pillow
Price: $89 - Small $99 - Medium $129 - Large
Fill: Solid memory foam
Firmness: Extra Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Shoppers who want to invest in a long-lasting neck pillow
  • Those who prefer a loft of 3 to 4.5 inches
  • Contoured shape offers optimal neck support
  • Durable, high-density memory foam
  • Extra firm feel provides excellent support for side and back sleepers
TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Tempur-Pedic pillows

The Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Pillow is a cervical pillow that targets aches and pains by contouring evenly to the head and neck. The pillow contains a solid piece of dense TEMPUR memory foam, a material renowned for its durability and conforming ability. The TEMPUR-Neck feels extra firm, resulting in excellent support for side and back sleepers.

Customer can choose from four sizes and corresponding lofts. The small size, which measures 3 inches thick, is ideal for sleepers with smaller gaps between their neck and shoulders. The large size offers a 4.5-inch loft best suited to sleepers with a gap of at least 6 inches. The medium size, which is 4 inches thick, should be the best option for anyone who falls in the middle of these measurements. The travel size TEMPUR-Neck also measures 4 inches thick.

The pillow is encased in a hypoallergenic polyester cover that can be washed and dried in any household machine. While Tempur-Pedic does not permit returns for the TEMPUR-Neck, it is backed by a five-year warranty against physical defects. Shipping is free within the contiguous U.S., and delivery charges are reasonable for customers in Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Best for Side Sleepers

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow
Price: $150
Fill: 75% Latex and 25% Polyester Fiber
Firmness: Medium, adjustable
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers looking for an ergonomic shape
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who appreciate being able to adjust loft and firmness
  • Filling can be added or removed to adjust loft and firmness
  • Moderately high loft and medium firmness are well-suited to side sleeping
  • Unique design accommodates shoulders to reduce neck and shoulder pain
Eli & Elm Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Eli & Elm pillows

The Eli & Elm Side-Sleeper Pillow has a unique shape with a recessed middle for the shoulder, designed to fit to your body while side-sleeping. This accommodates the shoulders and provides the needed support to reduce neck pain. The filling is a blend of latex and polyester fiber that provides just enough resistance to hold your head aloft.

The pillow’s medium feel and relatively high loft are well-suited to side sleepers. Filling can be added or removed to adjust the loft, which will also have an impact on the firmness.

Eli & Elm has included cooling gels in the pillow’s filling to help maintain temperature neutrality and give the pillow a softer feel. The pillow has a breathable and machine-washable cover, made of an organic cotton and polyester blend.

The Eli & Elm Organic Cotton Side-Sleeper Pillow is offered in just one size, suitable for a queen or a king mattress.

GhostPillow - Memory Foam

Most Comfortable

GhostPillow - Memory Foam

GhostPillow - Memory Foam
Price: $
Fill: Aerated Gel Memory Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm
Who it's best for:
  • People who prefer firmer, more supportive foam pillows
  • Those who tend to find memory foam too warm
  • Value seekers
  • Dense memory foam conforms to the neck and alleviates tension
  • Phase-change material reduces heat buildup
  • 101-night sleep trial with free returns
GhostPillow - Memory Foam

Use this link for the most current discount on GhostBed pillows

The GhostBed GhostPillow – Memory Foam will probably be a comfortable change of pace for anyone who sleeps hot. The pillow’s solid foam core is ventilated with holes to promote air circulation throughout the interior, while the cover is composed of phase-change material that draws heat away from your body and maintains a cool temperature. An inner open-mesh cover is included for extra breathability.

The pillow is medium firm and the foam conforms evenly around the head and neck, resulting in even support and little to no sink. A mid-level thickness of 6 inches makes this pillow especially well suited to back sleepers, as well as side sleepers who don’t need too much loft. The cover can be washed and dried in any household machine, so you won’t have trouble keeping the pillow clean.

Compared to other memory foam pillows of this quality, the GhostPillow – Memory Foam has a very reasonable price-point. Ground shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S., and you’ll have the option to bundle your purchase with a mulberry silk pillowcase and save roughly 50% on that extra item. The sleep trial for this pillow lasts 101 nights, and those who decide to keep it also qualify for a 5-year warranty.

Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow

Best Pressure Relief

Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow

Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow
Price: $130-150 – Standard/Queen $150-170 – King
Fill: Bio-Pur memory foam
Firmness: Side 1: Medium Soft Side 2: Medium Firm
Who it's best for:
  • Those who prefer pillows that conform to the head and neck
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People whose firmness preferences change on a night-to-night basis
  • Reversible design has a distinct feel on each side
  • Dense memory foam delivers excellent pressure relief
  • Durable construction, with a 10-year warranty
Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Amerisleep pillows

The Amerisleep Dual Comfort Pillow is composed of Bio-Pur memory foam, a proprietary open-cell material that contours evenly around the head and neck to alleviate pressure points in these areas. Thanks to its reversible design, one side of the pillow has a medium soft feel and the other side is medium firm. This allows sleepers to flip between two distinct surfaces, making the pillow ideal for people whose firmness levels tend to fluctuate.

The foam is ventilated with small holes to allow air circulation, which prevents the material from absorbing too much body heat and allows the pillow to remain fairly cool. The cover is made of breathable polyester mesh for added temperature control. You can remove the cover and launder it in your household machines whenever cleaning is needed, but you’ll never need to wash the foam.

Customers can choose between a 5-inch or 6-inch loft for their pillow, depending on their ideal thickness and sleep position. While the thicker option costs slightly more, the Dual Comfort Pillow is very reasonably priced compared to other memory foam models. Amerisleep also offers free shipping for all orders and backs the pillow with a longer-than-average 10-year warranty.

Muse Pillow

Best Cooling

Muse Pillow

Muse Pillow
Price: $120 - Standard
Fill: Shredded and solid memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • People with sharp neck pain
  • Those who usually sleep hot on memory foam pillows
  • Pillow shoppers who would like loft options
  • Choice of three loft levels – 5, 6, or 7 inches
  • Cooling fabric cover prevents overheating
  • Dual layer design perfectly balances cushioning and support
Muse Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Muse Sleep pillows

Your ideal pillow loft will depend on a few factors, such as the size of your head and your preferred sleep position, but most pillows sold today are available in one thickness. The Muse Pillow is a notable exception. You can choose between three loft options – 5, 6, or 7 inches. The lower-loft design is best suited to stomach sleepers, while side and back sleepers will probably find the medium- or high-loft pillows more comfortable.

The Muse Pillow also boasts a sophisticated, layered design. The top layer consists of shredded memory foam, while the bottom layer is made of solid memory foam. These materials contour closely to the head and neck to alleviate aches, pains, and pressure points. Unlike many competing memory foam pillows, the Muse Pillow shouldn’t sleep too warm for most people. This can be attributed to the cooling fabric used to construct the cover, which dissipates body heat to keep you cool. The cover can be removed and machine washed whenever cleaning is needed.

All three loft options for the Muse Pillow share the same sticker price. The company also ships for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Customers also receive a three-year warranty with their pillow purchase.

Saatva Latex Pillow

Best Luxury

Saatva Latex Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow
Price: $145 - Queen $165 - King
Fill: Shredded 100% American Talalay latex and down alternative
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who prefer softer pillows that conform closely
  • Those who want a pillow with adjustable loft
  • Hot sleepers
  • Microdenier padding softens the latex core for a comfortable, balanced feel
  • Removable components allow you to change the loft and feel
  • Encased in a breathable organic cotton cover
Saatva Latex Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Saatva pillows

The Saatva Latex Pillow will check boxes for many sleepers thanks to its adjustable design. The core contains shredded Talalay latex that feels soft and responsive in equal measure, while the inner pillow is cushioned with down alternative microdenier fibers to enhance the plushness without compromising support. The inner pillow can be removed, reducing the loft and giving the surface a firmer feel. This customizable design makes the pillow for back and side sleepers alike.

A thick gusset along the side helps the pillow maintain a full shape, so you shouldn’t need to fluff it very often. The outer cover is made of breathable organic cotton and the internal components won’t retain too much body heat. As a result, the pillow sleeps fairly cool. As a bonus for owners, both the cover and microdenier pillow can be laundered at home, allowing you to avoid inconvenient hand washing or dry cleaning bills. Queen and king sizes are available.

As part of your purchase, you may include two sateen pillowcases for an added charge. Saatva provides free shipping to all customers in the contiguous U.S. The pillow is backed by a 45-night sleep trial and 1-year warranty.

Layla Kapok Pillow

Best Adjustable Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow
Price: $99 - Queen $119 - King
Fill: Shredded memory foam and kapok tree fiber blend
Firmness: Medium Soft
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who prefer pillows with adjustable loft
  • Value seekers
  • Kapok tree fibers add natural breathability
  • Copper-infused fabric improves cooling
  • Removable fill for easy adjustments
Layla Kapok Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Layla pillows

The Layla Kapok Pillow is a great option for people with neck pain thanks in part to its adjustable design. The pillow contains a blend of shredded memory foam and fibers from the kapok tree, the latter of which can be likened to down or cotton. To change the loft, simply unzip the pillow and add or remove the fill from the main chamber. The pillow measures 4 inches thick when new.

Hot sleepers should also find this pillow very comfortable, especially if they have had bad experiences with other memory foam pillows. The kapok fibers are very breathable and the polyester-viscose cover is infused with copper for added cooling. CuTec yarns used for the cover also have antimicrobial properties. The cover can be washed and dried in your household machines, but the fill should never be laundered. Queen and king sizes are available.

The Layla Kapok Pillow’s sticker price is very reasonable considering its premium materials and innovative, long-lasting design. Layla also offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. You may return the pillow within 120 days of your original purchase, even if you’ve used it or washed the cover, and you’ll also receive a five-year warranty that covers structural defects.

Sweet Night Bamboo Pillow

Best Value

Sweet Night Bamboo Pillow

Sweet Night Bamboo Pillow
Price: $49 - Standard $54 - Queen $59 - King
Fill: Shredded memory foam with activated bamboo and charcoal
Firmness: Medium Firm (Adjustable)
Who it's best for:
  • Those who want a pillow with adjustable loft
  • Hot sleepers
  • Value seekers
  • Shredded memory foam fill can be added or removed to change the loft
  • Breathable rayon from bamboo cover
  • Very approachable price-point
Sweet Night Bamboo Pillow

Use code SLEEP at checkout for the highest discount on Sweet Night pillows.

For some who live with chronic neck pain, pillow loft and firmness preferences vary from night to night depending on their general discomfort level. These sleepers are prime candidates for adjustable pillows. The Bamboo by Sweet Night is a standout adjustable model stuffed with shredded, charcoal-infused memory foam that can be added or removed to change how thick the pillow feels. Adjusting the loft can also affect the firmness level, though this pillow maintains a comfortable balance of contouring and support regardless of its overall volume.

The cover is composed of rayon from bamboo, a highly breathable material that helps keep sleepers cool despite the foam’s heat-absorbing properties. And because the foam is shredded, the Bamboo is also quite moldable and well suited to people who enjoy clutching or cuddling with a pillow while they sleep.

The cover can be removed and machine washed whenever it needs to be cleaned, though Sweet Night recommends hand washing in order to preserve the fabric’s lifespan. The foam should never be cleaned. Standard, queen, and king sizes are available for the pillow.

The Bamboo’s sticker price is quite low compared to other adjustable, shredded foam pillows. Sweet Night also offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Each purchase includes a 100-night sleep trial and three-year warranty.

Back Support Systems BeCool Neck Contour Pillow

Best for Back Sleepers

Back Support Systems BeCool Neck Contour Pillow

Back Support Systems BeCool Neck Contour Pillow
Price: $129
Fill: Gel-infused memory foam
Firmness: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers who seek proper spinal alignment
  • Gel-infused memory foam designed to help regulate body temperature
  • Contoured shape that supports head and neck
  • Available in three sizes
Back Support Systems BeCool Neck Contour Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on Back Support Systems pillows

The Back Support Systems BeCool Neck Contour Pillow has an ergonomic shape that offers excellent support for your head and neck during sleep. The supportive shape helps prevent sources of neck pain by promoting healthy alignment of the neck and spine. The pillow is best for back or side sleepers, especially those suffering from neck discomfort at night.

Available in three sizes (small, medium, and large), the pillow is composed of a solid, single piece of molded memory foam that has a medium firmness. The foam molds to the shape of your head to relieve pressure points that might be causing pain or discomfort in the neck and shoulder areas. The memory foam is infused with gel, which is designed to draw away heat throughout the night, which may be beneficial for sleepers who tend to run hot at night. The pillow comes with a removable and washable bamboo-derived textile cover for easy cleaning.

Back Support Systems offers a 30-day return policy for most of its products, but it does not allow customers to return pillows that have been opened or used.

SleepEasy EasySleeper Pillow

Best Memory Foam

SleepEasy EasySleeper Pillow

SleepEasy EasySleeper Pillow
Price: $40
Mattress Type: Solid memory foam
Mattress Type: Medium
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People who would like to improve their posture
  • Value seekers
  • Contoured shape designed to support the neck and alleviate pressure
  • Eco-friendly cover made from recycled plastic
  • Suitable for anyone 13 and older
SleepEasy EasySleeper Pillow

Use this link for the most current discount on SleepEasy pillows

An unconventional shape sets the SleepEasy Easy Sleeper Pillow apart from its competitors. Containing a single piece of memory foam, the pillow elevates the neck to improve alignment while a grooved midsection cradles the head. This design reduces stiffness around the head and neck without creating an uncomfortable dip – a common complaint regarding other cervical pillows.

The Easy Sleeper can also improve your posture, making it a good choice for people who primarily sit while working. The pillow has been approved for children 13 and older. The breathable, machine washable cover is composed of polyester and cotton, and includes a zipper made of recycled plastic.

Compared to other ergonomic neck pillows, the Easy Sleeper carries a very affordable price-point. SleepEasy ships pillows worldwide, and most customers receive their pillow within seven business days. The company issues full refunds on all returns within 30 days of delivery, provided the pillow is in good condition and shipped in its original packaging.

What Is Neck Pain?

The neck is responsible for bearing the entire weight of the head, and it’s not surprising that this delicate part of the body is highly susceptible to injury. The 2018 US Burden of Disease study found that neck pain is rising in importance as a leading cause of disability among the American population. Most sources estimate that between 25 and 30 percent of people suffer from neck pain every year. While many episodes of neck pain resolve naturally, for some it can become a chronic condition with adverse consequences for their quality of life.

Neck pain can be caused by a number of factors. It may stem from an injury or a chronic condition such as arthritis, or it may arise from daily habits such as poor posture or too many hours of sitting at a computer. While symptoms vary, neck pain sufferers often experience:

  • Neck pain, especially during repetitive activities or long periods of sitting upright
  • Limited range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Poor sleep quality

If you have severe pain or additional symptoms, or if you’re not sure what’s causing your neck pain, it’s 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.

Neck Pain and Sleep

The eight hours you spend in bed every night is a critical time for those who suffer from neck pain. The positions you adopt as you sleep can either relax your neck or put it under additional strain. As part of your sleep setup, a supportive pillow should promote proper neck and spine alignment.

Not only can an unsupportive pillow exacerbate your neck pain, but studies show that the wrong pillow can lead to discomfort during the night. This leads to nighttime awakenings, creating a vicious circle that makes it difficult to get the rest you need to recover from neck pain.

Your pillow is unlikely to be the sole source for your neck pain. However, choosing the right pillow and adopting a healthy sleeping position can help ease pressure on the neck. You should replace your pillow when it’s no longer able to provide the proper support.

How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain

For neck pain sufferers, choosing the right pillow can be a key step toward living pain-free. The right pillow will depend on your individual needs. We’ll walk you through the most important considerations, including how to choose the best material, shape, and thickness for your individual sleeping style.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Pillow for Neck Pain

Most people don’t give much thought to their pillow, beyond choosing a pillow that’s 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 a proper one. Shoppers in this position may be susceptible to misleading marketing and end up choosing a pillow that’s ill-suited for their needs.

To help you get started, we’ve made a list of the most important factors. Focusing on these factors and having a basic understanding of how pillows work can help you find the pillow that works best for you.

  • Loft: The loft determines the angle of your head in relation to your spine. A pillow that’s too high or too low can force your neck to bend at an unnatural angle, causing strain and discomfort over time. That’s why sleep experts recommend choosing a pillow loft that keeps your head and neck aligned with your spine. When choosing your pillow, don’t forget to consider the width of your shoulders and size of your head. If you’re not sure of your ideal loft, you may wish to purchase a pillow with an adjustable loft.
  • Support: In addition to being the right height under your head, a pillow should also adequately support your neck. This is most often seen in cervical pillows, which contour to the neck instead of leaving a space where the neck is unsupported.
  • Firmness Level: The pillow firmness will determine where your head comes to rest, so it’s important to give this aspect careful consideration. 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. Pillows that are too firm may cause pressure points, for example in the ears when side sleeping. On the other hand, pillows that are too soft may sag under your head and fail to provide proper support.
  • Pressure Relief: A good pillow provides pressure relief by taking strain off the neck and contouring to reduce pressure points. For the best pressure relief, choose a pillow that’s the appropriate shape and size for your sleeping position, and the appropriate firmness to alleviate pressure at contact points.
  • Shape: Today’s manufacturers offer a varied assortment of ergonomic pillows that provide enhanced support by adapting to the shape of your head and neck. Some people also choose to add another pillow to their setup, one popular choice being a small roll under the neck in addition to the main pillow. Pillow shape is a matter of personal preference, but if you can’t find relief from your neck pain, one solution may be to try a cervical pillow.
  • Price: Investing in a good pillow is crucial to your overall health and your neck health in particular. Pillow prices vary widely depending on their materials and design. When shopping for a pillow, keep in in mind that certain types of pillows will last you for years, while others may need to be replaced after a year or two as their materials wear out and lose their loft or conforming abilities.
  • Quality Materials: Within broad categories such as memory foam or feather pillows, the quality of the individual pillow plays a significant role in determining its longevity and comfort. Some pillows can be washed occasionally and properly dried to fluff them up and increase their lifespan.

What Pillow Materials are Best for Neck Pain?

The best pillow for neck and shoulder pain is firm enough to hold the 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.

  • Memory Foam: Memory foam molds in response to heat and pressure, contouring to form a supportive cradle around the head and neck. Memory foam pillows are hypoallergenic, cheap, and widely available, either in solid or shredded form. However, they have a limited lifespan, and the material’s slow response to pressure may be frustrating for some combination sleepers. The material is also prone to trapping heat.
  • Buckwheat: Buckwheat hulls naturally interlock and hold their shape, making them a great choice for head and neck support. As a natural material, buckwheat is naturally breathable, resistant to allergens, durable, and environmentally friendly. On the downside, buckwheat pillows tend to command a high price-point, and they may take some getting used to as they aren’t as soft as other traditional pillow types and do make some noise as you change positions.
  • Feather: Good quality feather pillows are soft and offer excellent conforming. They’re also often customizable, allowing owners to adjust the loft by taking out feathers or adding more. Unfortunately, feather pillows tend to lose their loft as the feathers get compressed over time. Many people also find that the feathers may become displaced under the weight of their head, affecting the support they provide.
  • Latex: Natural latex has a buoyant feel that holds the neck in place while minimizing pressure points. Many latex pillows feature pincore holes for improved temperature regulation. The major downside to latex is that latex pillows usually come in one solid piece, so users can’t adjust them into a customized shape. While many people turn to latex as a natural and sustainable option, organic and other certifications tend to raise the price tag.
  • Down: Made from the inner feathers of ducks and geese, down is exceedingly soft and lightweight, and pillows made with this fill material can be reshaped to suit the user’s preference. Due to its high price tag and ability to provoke allergies in some people, many sleepers opt for down alternative, made from polyester fibers. Unfortunately, both down and down alternative pillows easily lose their shape and tend to be too soft to adequately support the neck.
  • Polyfoam: Most polyfoam pillows offer some contouring and boast a quicker response to pressure than memory foam, although like memory foam they will trap heat. Polyfoam pillows are lightweight, affordable, and hypoallergenic. However, they develop permanent indentations over time and will need to be replaced more often than other pillow types.

What is the Best Pillow Positioning for Neck Pain?

Sleep experts recommend either back or side sleeping if you suffer from neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach causes your head to bend at a sharp angle and arches your spine, which puts unwanted pressure on your neck. Strict stomach sleepers should choose a pillow with a low loft to minimize pressure.

For best results, back and side sleepers should ensure that their head, neck, and top of the spine form a straight line. Sleeping with a pillow that’s too high or too low can cause aches and pains. Likewise, sleeping with your head rolled to one side or the other is also likely to cause neck pain.

  • Side with Elevated Neck: For side sleepers to avoid neck pain, it’s important to keep the head in line with the spine. The best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain should have a loft that equals the distance between the ears and the edge of the shoulders. This means that people with bigger shoulders usually need a higher loft. Since the neck sits naturally higher than the head, cervical pillows have an elevated area under the neck that helps support the neck and encourage proper alignment.
  • Back with Two Pillows: Usually, pillows for back sleepers should have a medium loft that raises the head just enough to sit in line with the neck. But back sleepers face a similar problem to side sleepers in that most pillows don’t support the higher curve of the neck. Those who have trouble finding a properly supportive pillow may find it more comfortable to use a small rounded pillow under the neck for added support in addition to the main pillow.

Other Tips for Neck Pain Sufferers

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 suffer from neck pain should avoid shoulder bags, slouching, and long periods of sitting at the computer.

  • Choose the Right Mattress: Your body’s overall position is influenced not only by your pillow, but also your mattress. Plusher mattresses allow your body to sink down further, meaning you’ll 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 neck pain sufferers 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What pillow types are best for sleepers with neck pain?

    The best pillow for neck pain is one that has the right loft, firmness, and shape for your preferred sleeping position. Preferences vary among types of pillows, so that some people find that memory foam pillows relieve their neck pain while others are much more comfortable with microfiber filing.

    There are also variations within pillow types — memory foam pillows are available as a solid piece or with shredded foam filling, and each variant works well for some people but not others. Instead of focusing on the type of pillow, it is more important to determine the loft, shape, and filling that will work best with your body type in your preferred sleeping position. Reading independent reviews can help you understand these factors, as can speaking to any health care professionals treating your neck pain.

  • What pillow loft works best for sleepers with neck pain?

    The correct pillow loft for alleviating neck pain is one that will hold your head and neck at a neutral angle in alignment with the natural curve of your spine. The right loft therefore depends on your preferred sleeping position. For example, side sleepers usually need a medium to high-loft pillow, while stomach sleepers require lower pillows so as not to crane their neck upwards. You should also consider how far you sink into your mattress, since one that cradles you deeply may require you to use a lower-loft pillow.

  • How firm should a pillow be to help alleviate neck pain?

    Pillows should be firm enough to support the neck without creating pressure points, but the precise firmness of a pillow depends on your usual sleeping position. Back and side sleepers usually require firmer pillows than stomach sleepers, while combination sleepers and people whose firmness preferences change may want to consider an adjustable pillow.

    If you prefer very soft pillows that do not adequately support your neck, you may enjoy a memory foam pillow with significant pressure relief. While the core of the foam should still provide enough support, its contouring qualities may make it feel subjectively “softer” and therefore more comfortable.