The 9 Best Pillows for Neck Pain to Improve Your Sleep Quality
Whether you're texting, scrolling through your favorite social apps, or staring at your laptop, you put a lot of strain on your neck during the day. "One out of three people suffer from neck pain," Max Cohen, DC, chiropractor and founder of MaxHealth Chiropractic in Wellington, Florida, tells Health. "Constant sitting with a forward head posture in front of a computer or cellphone is one of the most common causes of neck pain."
On the bright side, neck pain relief can be as easy as choosing the right pillow. The best pillows for neck pain keep you propped up in a healthy posture so you can enjoy a comfortable night's sleep free of aches and pains. But deciding which one to buy among the thousands available online is no easy task. That's why the pros at Mattress Advisor spent hours testing options in their lab to determine which pillows deserve your attention. Learn more about their top nine picks below.
Choosing the best pillow for neck pain
There are several things to consider when picking out a pillow to sleep on, especially if you're someone who frequently wakes up feeling more exhausted and achy than you did at the beginning of the night. For neck pain sufferers, it's important to think about the following factors when you shop for a new pillow.
The best pillows for neck pain support your upper body by maintaining proper spine alignment. An unsupportive pillow allows your neck to slump or push too far upward, which can negatively affect your posture and lead to neck strains.
A pillow's loft, or height, makes a big difference when it comes to support for the neck and spine. Side sleepers need a pillow with a high loft that fills the distance between the bed and their neck to keep the spine aligned as they snooze. If you're a stomach sleeper, you'll be more comfortable with a lower loft pillow and back sleepers should look for a medium loft option.
- Memory foam: Memory foam pillows balance support and comfort, contouring to the shape of your head and neck to help keep the spine in alignment. By reducing pressure to sensitive areas, memory foam pillows can ease and even prevent neck pain.
- Down and Down Alternative: Despite their popularity, down pillows (which are made with duck and goose feathers) and down alternative pillows (which contain hypoallergenic synthetic materials like polyester) are not great for neck pain sufferers. Feather and imitation feather pillows may be soft and plush, but they tend to lose their loft over time and lack adequate support.
- Cotton: Cotton pillows are hypoallergenic and do not retain heat or moisture, making them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers and hot sleepers in need of a cooling material. However, they tend to be flat and firm—two characteristics that aren't always friendly on the neck.
- Water: At the core of water pillows is a sac of water wrapped in foam. You can adjust the loft and firmness of the pillow by adding or removing water from the sac, which is helpful for those experiencing pain. If you need a higher loft to keep your head and neck in a neutral posture, you can customize the height to your liking.
A medium-firm pillow is ideal for the average sleeper looking to relieve neck pain. A pillow that is too soft may allow your head to sink into the bed, causing discomfort, and an overly firm pillow could feel too stiff, contributing to the pressure already being placed on your neck.
The 9 best pillows for neck pain
Best Overall: Layla Kapok
Best for Stomach Sleepers: Helix Sleep
Best Cooling: Nest Easy Breather Pillow
Best Support: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Neck Pillow
Best Durable: Purple Harmony
Best Memory Foam: Casper
Best for Side Sleepers: Eli & Elm
Best Adjustable: Coop Home Goods
Best Value: Tuft & Needle
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