Mattress Accessories & Bedding

Top 8 Pillows for Neck Pain of 2020

A guide to finding the right pillow to stop neck pain and improve your sleep.

By Megan Griffith

Chronic neck pain is a common problem for all kinds of sleepers. No matter which sleeping position you prefer, it’s possible to strain your neck muscles, especially if you’re using the wrong pillow. The right pillow helps with sleeping posture, neck support and overall comfort for a good night’s sleep.

If you tend to wake up with neck pain or stiffness, a new pillow could make all the difference. Our top ten picks include a wide variety of pillows, from traditional pillows made from memory foam or down, to orthopedic pillows specifically designed for neck support. Find out which one is right for you.

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Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Bear Pillow 

Best Cooling

The Bear Pillow is a good choice for hot sleepers. This special cooling pillow is made with Loft-X foam, which is a proprietary combination of memory foam and latex. The cover includes mesh panels at the corners to make it as breathable as possible.

Reason to Buy: The unique Loft-X foam is what makes this such a great pillow for neck pain relief. It provides support without being too firm, and offers comfort without being too soft, all for $100 for a Queen-size pillow. If you’re looking for a firm pillow that sleeps cool and relieves neck pain, the Bear Pillow could be right for you.

Saatva Pillow 

Best Luxury

The Saatva Pillow features three luxurious layers. Fluffy organic cotton fill surrounds the center of natural, shredded Talalay latex, and it’s all held together with an organic cotton cover.

Reason to Buy: If you want the plush comfort of a hotel pillow in your own bed, then we recommend buying the Saatva Pillow for $145. Shredded latex is naturally hypoallergenic, cotton is breathable and cool, and the layered construction offers ideal neck support

Tri-Core Cervical Pillow 

Best for Neck and Upper Back Pain

The Tri-Core Cervical Pillow is specifically designed to reduce neck and upper back pain, thanks to its cervical design. The sides of the pillow are filled with polyester fluff, but the center of the pillow is indented to cradle your head and support your neck and cervical spine.

Reason to Buy: If your main concern when it comes to buying a new pillow is finding one that will keep you from waking up with a stiff neck, the Tri-Core Cervical Pillow is a great option. It only costs $47, and it offers two different levels of neck support. One side of the pillow is extra firm, and the other side is a bit softer, so you can choose the side that works for you.

Puredown Pillow

Best Traditional Feel

The Puredown Pillow is great for anyone who loves a traditional down pillow. Puredown makes several different pillows with varying levels of firmness, breathability and cover material, but they are all high-quality feather pillows.

Reason to Buy: Puredown pillows are a good choice for those who want a traditional down pillow that comes in a wide variety of comfort preferences and prices. Puredown pillows range from $25 to $122, often for a set of two, so there’s a pillow for almost any budget.

Panda Life Pillow 

Most Sustainable

The Panda Life Pillow is the most eco-friendly pillow on this list. Plus, it still offers incredible support and contouring, thanks to its shredded memory-foam fill. The memory foam and the cover are made from viscose from bamboo, which is a sustainable material that also sleeps cool.

Reason to Buy: This shredded memory foam pillow is great for anyone who sleeps hot, experiences neck pain, wants to help the environment or shops on a budget. For $60, you can get a good night’s sleep without harming the environment.

Purple Pillow 

Most Out-of-the-Box

The Purple Pillow is unique because it isn’t made with memory foam, down or any other traditional pillow material. Instead, core products include Purple’s proprietary ComfortGrid, a hyperelastic polymer grid that supports your neck while also allowing for as much airflow as possible.

Reason to Buy: The Purple Pillow is one of the pricier options on this list, coming in at $109, but many people find that the additional cost is worth the comfortable support and breathability. You’ve never slept on this type of pillow before, and it could make all the difference for your neck pain.

Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow 

Best Memory Foam

The Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow is made from extra-firm memory foam, shaped with a curve at the base to support that natural curve of your neck. This contour memory foam pillow is firm enough to take the strain off your neck muscles, but still soft enough to contour to your body.

Reason to Buy: Unlike many of the other traditional sleeping pillows on this list, the Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow is specifically made for ideal neck support. Price ranges from $89 for the small neck pillow to $129 for the large one.

Belly Sleeper Pillow 

Best for Stomach Sleepers

The Belly Sleeper Pillow is specifically designed to relieve neck pain for stomach sleepers. It’s made from cooling memory foam, and unlike most pillows, it is thin, with curved edges to prevent unnecessary neck strain.

Reason to Buy: If you’re a stomach sleeper experiencing neck pain, the Belly Sleeper Pillow could make a huge difference in your sleep quality. For $50, you can get the neck support you need while sleeping on your stomach.

Other Tips for Improving Neck Pain

A new pillow can go a long way toward improving your neck pain, but it might not be the only solution you need.

One way to prevent neck pain from developing throughout the day is to check in on your posture, especially if you sit at a desk most of the day. Make sure you sit with your feet flat on the floor, your back flat against the back of your chair, and your computer monitor at eye level. If you tend to slouch, set a periodic reminder on your phone to help you remember to sit up straight.

If your pain isn’t limited to your neck, you might want to start looking at new mattresses as well. Shoulder pain, back pain and hip pain can go hand in hand with neck pain caused by a mattress that isn’t well-suited to your sleep needs. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, in your neck or elsewhere, a new mattress could do you a world of good.

Types of Pillows for Neck Pain

Some pillows help reduce neck pain simply because they keep your spine properly aligned at night, but some pillows are specifically designed for neck pain relief. Check out the types of pillows for neck pain that you can choose from.

Ergonomic/Orthopedic/Chiropractic Neck Pillow

Pillows that are labeled “ergonomic,” “orthopedic,” or “chiropractic” typically do the same thing: They keep your spine properly aligned while you sleep. “Ergonomic” means something is designed for comfort, while “orthopedic” and “chiropractic” both mean something is designed for proper spine, bone or muscle care.

Side-Sleeper Pillow

Some pillows are specifically designed for side sleepers because side sleeping presents a unique problem for proper neck alignment. When you sleep on your side, you can get a crick in your neck from poor spinal alignment. Side-sleeper pillows provide the support you need to prevent side sleeping neck pain.

Cervical Neck Pillow

Cervical neck pillows, or cervical support pillows, are pillows designed with an indentation in the center. Your head rests in the indentation, and the raised parts of the pillow surrounding it provide the support your neck needs. They typically don’t work for stomach sleepers, but for side and back sleepers, they can make a big difference when it comes to preventing neck pain.

Considerations for Pillows for Neck Pain

Sleeping Position

The first thing you need to consider before buying a pillow for neck pain is your sleep position. If you sleep on your side, you probably need a contour pillow or a pillow with some height, for proper spine alignment. But if you sleep on your stomach, a large, lofty pillow could actually cause more neck pain, and a relatively thin pillow might be better.

Portability

Once you start using a pillow for neck pain, you won’t want to leave it at home when you travel. Make sure it’s reasonably easy to bring your pillow with you when you go out of town. Memory foam pillows are great for this because they compress easily, which allows them to be stored in a suitcase without taking up all the space.

Temperature Regulation

If you sleep hot, you don’t want a pillow that traps heat. Look for breathable materials like latex and cooling gel memory foam, with a polyester or 100% cotton cover.

Washability

Our pillows collect a lot of dirt and bacteria over time, so it’s important that they are at least somewhat washable. Even if your pillow can’t be washed completely, make sure it at least has a washable cover. Allergy sufferers should wash their pillowcase frequently as well.

Our Final Take

You don’t have to live with chronic neck pain. There are many amazing pillows out there that are specifically designed to help you get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed instead of achy. If you’re a stomach sleeper, the Belly Sleeper Pillow is a great option for pain relief, and we especially like the Bear Pillow for hot sleepers trying to stay cool and relieve neck pain at the same time.


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