Mattress Accessories & Bedding

Best Pillows for Neck Pain

The best pillow for neck pain will alleviate pain and pressure. In this guide, we’re sharing our top picks for neck pain and what to look for in a pillow if you have neck pain.

By Natalie Yerger

Neck pain is an affliction that can send you pillow shopping in a hurry. While a pillow can’t cure a chronic stiffness, it can alleviate pain and inflammation, helping to decrease the risk of additional damage while you sleep. The appropriate pillow for sleepers with neck pain will offer support and pressure relief, leading to deeper sleep and improved overall wellness. A pillow that’s too stiff can have the opposite effect, so it’s important to have an understanding of what to look for prior to shopping. In this guide, we’re sharing the best pillows for neck pain in addition to an overview of how pillows can contribute to neck pain and what qualities to look for as you shop.

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Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Coop Home Goods

Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow

Best All-Around

The Coop Home Goods pillow is stuffed with shredded Visco elastic memory foam and microfiber that can be adjusted to your preference for the perfect amount of neck support. The cover is made from machine washable Lulltra fabric in polyester-rayon, which provides breathability and superior softness. The entire pillow is dust-mite resistant and hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for those who suffer from allergies. One unique aspect of this pillow is its stretchy inner liner, which can be unzipped to adjust loft but also allows you to shape the pillow to support your unique sleeping position. With more than 17,000 reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars, we highly recommend this option from Coop Home Goods.

Purple Plush Adjustable Pillow

Purple Plush Pillow

Best Adjustable

Some sleepers sleep well at a variety of loft levels depending on the night or their sleep position, and the Purple Plush pillow is our favorite adjustable pillow because of its intuitive design. While most adjustable pillows require sleepers to manually add or remove fill, the Purple Plush can be adjusted by zipping or unzipping extensions on either side. We love this mess-free approach. The pillow is filled with interlocking denier poly fiber balls, and the fill keeps its shape throughout the night. Covered in a Lyocell-blend shell that’s cooling and breathable, this pillow will wick moisture away and regulate your temperature all night while providing the perfect amount of loft to relieve neck pain. The Purple Plush is available in one size for $49.

TEMPUR Pedic Neck Pillow

TEMPUR-Pedic TEMPUR-Neck Pillow

Best for Back and Side Sleepers

If you’re interested in a pillow that’s custom-designed to relieve neck pain from an industry leader, look no further. The TEMPUR-Neck pillow has a contoured, ergonomic design that supports the natural curve of your head, neck, and shoulders for therapeutic support. Filled with TEMPUR-Pedic’s TEMPUR material and covered in a washable 100% polyester knit cover, this pillow has an extra-firm feel but provides the “best neck relief ever,” according to one reviewer. It comes in four sizes, including small, medium, large, and travel size. Keep in mind that each pillow size offers precise alignment for certain shoulder dimensions and sleep positions, so you’ll need to narrow in on the best size for you to receive the pillow’s full benefits. We recommend using the chart provided on the company’s website to determine the best size.

layla pillow

Layla Kapok Memory Foam Pillow

Best Cooling

Layla mattresses are known for being extremely cool. The copper-infused yarn in the pillow’s cover naturally pulls heat away from your face and neck for a cooling, relaxing effect while you sleep. Inside the pillow are fibers found in the seed pods of Kapok trees, which are fluffy, all-natural, and free from pesticides, and shredded memory foam. This combination fill makes the pillow feel airier than cotton or wool-filled pillows, translating to a longer-lasting loft. The copper-infused cover can be easily unzipped and removed for simple washing or to adjust the loft. The Layla comes in queen and king sizes for as little as $99. 

SpineAlign Pillow

SpineAlign Pillow by Dr. Loth

Best Double System

Designed as a two-in-one pillow with two sleep systems that help various sleeper types achieve a correct sleeping posture, the SpineAlign Pillow was designed by Dr. Jason Loth, a sports chiropractor with more than 17 years of practice. After treating thousands of patients with insomnia from pain, he patented the SpineAlign Pillow.

This pillow features three chambers: two on the outside with a higher loft for side sleepers and one middle chamber with a lower loft for back sleepers. It’s filled with SpineAlign’s proprietary blend of fiber and foam, which can be moved from chamber to chamber to adjust loft and firmness. The sophisticated design and chiropractor-backing of this pillow makes it our favorite double system design on the market for reducing neck pain. It comes in standard and queen sizes, which cost $129 and $149, respectively. 

snugglepedic pillow

Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo Pillow

Best Shredded Memory Foam

The Snuggle-Pedic Bamboo pillow is thoughtfully engineered to create contour and support and to maintain its shape. It’s covered in a stretch-velour cover made from polyester, Lycra spandex, and viscose made from Rayon bamboo, or “Kool-Flow”, which sleeps exceptionally cool. Inside, you’ll find a proprietary blend of shredded memory foam that mimics the feel of down without posing a risk to those with feather allergies or losing its shape throughout the night. While the pillow is adjustable, the company discourages owners from doing so themselves because the pillow requires resealing to make it compatible for washing again. However, free customizations are offered through the company and include free shipping. This pillow is available in three sizes and as a body pillow.

Pillow Guy Alternative Down Pillow

Pillow Guy Stomach Sleeper Pillow

Best Alternative Down

Stomach sleeping isn’t recommended because it can actually worsen neck issues in your upper spine, but if that’s your position of choice, Pillow Guy has an option for you. Stomach sleepers need a pillow that’s very low in loft, compressible, and soft, qualities that, together, encourage a neutral spine by preventing the head from craning upward.

This pillow is filled with cooling, hypoallergenic Poly Gel Fiber that’s covered in a soft-brushed microfiber shell and encased in a blue pillow protector made from Percale cotton. For a luxurious touch, the cover has white satin piping and comes with a zipper for easy cleaning. It’s priced from $79 to $99 and comes in standard, queen, and king sizes.

MyPillow Premium Pillow

MyPillow Premium Platinum Pillow

Best Fill Level Options

The MyPillow is engineered to offer all types of sleepers relief. When purchasing, you can select from four fill levels that vary in loft and support. The cover of each pillow is made from 100% cotton and the filling is made from 100% polyurethane foam. As such, these pillows are highly shapeable, fluffable, and breathable. The company provides a chart on its website to guide sleepers to the best fill level for them based on sleeping position, gender, and even t-shirt size (shoulder width). Stomach sleepers will likely find the best neck alignment in the yellow MyPillow, which contains the least amount of fill. The green MyPillow is a good choice for back and side sleepers, providing slightly more loft for better spinal alignment. 

How Pillows Contribute to Neck Pain

The irony of the pillow market is that even the softest of pillows can exacerbate neck pain in some individuals if they’re not a good fit. This highlights the importance of understanding the loft and support levels that work best for achieving a neutral spine alignment in your preferred sleeping position. For example, a pillow that’s too thin will encourage the head to fall back, and a pillow that’s too thick will bring the chin too close to the sternum. When you’re lying in bed, you should never feel like your head is being forced too far upward or extended too far backward. In the ideal position, your ears should be in line with your shoulders and your chin should be in line with your sternum.

What to Look for in a Pillow if You Have a Neck Pain

Regardless of sleeping position, proper spinal alignment is the key to relieving neck pain throughout the night. Here’s a brief guide to the best pillow loft and support levels for achieving a neutral spine by sleeping position:

  • Back sleepers want to strike a balance with regard to the loft when shopping for a pillow. A thick pillow will tilt the head upward and close off the airways, while a thin pillow will overextend the cervical spine. Medium or high-loft pillows will work best. Look for pillows that are known to retain their shape throughout the night to help maintain proper spinal alignment for the full duration of your sleep.
  • Side sleepers require pillows that are elevated underneath the neck, filling the gap that naturally occurs between the sleeper’s neck and the pillow, and slightly lower beneath the head. Because this position requires such a specific shape for neutral spinal alignment, customized pillows designed specifically for side sleepers are usually the best option.
  • Stomach sleepers who aren’t open to transitioning to a new sleep position, as stomach sleeping isn’t recommended because of the strain it causes on the lower back and neck, will do well on a very low loft pillow, which will aid in preventing the spine from overarching.

From foam to divots and support cutouts, there’s no single answer for everyone when it comes to finding the right pillow. The best advice is to pick a pillow that feels good and keeps your head and neck supported and in alignment with your shoulders. Rather than spend money on the most expensive option, choose a pillow that feels comfortable to you, using our recommendations above as a guide.