There’s a two-way association between neck pain and sleep quality. On one hand, poor sleep is linked to an elevated risk of developing neck pain, on the other — soreness can disturb sleep and decrease its quality. It is no wonder why many people are trying to figure out what is the best pillow for neck pain, and whether it is reasonable to invest in one.
While research on pillows for neck pain is still scarce, they might be one of the tools in pain management. If you think it is time to ditch your old pillow, our comprehensive list can help you understand better what to look for when choosing a new one.
Best pillows for neck pain: shortlist
- Zamat — best pillow for neck pain from memory foam
- Derila — best contour pillow for neck pain
- Eli & Elm — best pillow for sore neck ideal for side sleepers
- Turmerry — best soft pillow for neck pain
- PlushBeds — best pillow for cervical neck pain from latex
Criteria for selecting the best pillow for neck pain
Finding a pillow that works for you can be a challenging task. To assist you in your search for a new pillow, we compiled a list of the most promising products on the market.
Below are some criteria that played a role in determining the best pillow for neck soreness.
|Products can be returned for a refund
|Firm pillows were preferred
|Neck supporting pillow
|Comes with a fair warranty
- Refund policy. We looked for products that can be returned for a refund — so you try them out risk-free.
- Material. We preferred products from firmer materials such as latex or memory foam. Some clinical trials showed that rubber and memory foam pillows may be more suitable for neck pain than soft pillows filled with feathers.
- Price. A good pillow should not be a splurge. We picked products that do not compromise with quality but are still reasonably priced.
- Shape. We prioritized cervical pillows, meaning they may support your neck. Although the research is scarce, the emerging evidence suggests that they might be useful for managing neck soreness.
- Warranty. A prolonged warranty is a nice thing to have. Keep in mind that most pillows last around 2 years before they should be replaced.
Top 5 pillows for neck pain: an overview
Neck pain (also known as cervical pain) is quite common. Treatment for this condition can vary as there are numerous reasons why you would be experiencing neck pain.
In tandem with your treatment, you might be considering buying a pillow for neck support but are unsure what to look for.
To help you choose the best pillow for neck pain, we crafted this list of products that may be beneficial in mitigating cervical pain.
1. Zamat — best pillow for neck and shoulder pain
If you are seeking neck pain relief, you may want to give Butterfly Pillow a try. Crafted by a professional Zamat team, this pillow is one of the most popular products in their lineup.
As the manufacturer claims, this pillow is comfortable regardless of your favorite sleep position: side, supine, or stomach. Thanks to its butterfly shape, it provides support not only for your neck and shoulders but also for your arms. The intention behind its unique design was to promote an ideal body alignment — the pillow is contoured, and its height is adjustable through a removable inner sleeve.
Butterfly Pillow is made from high-quality odorless memory foam — a material that may be beneficial for neck pain. On top of that, it comes with a breathable pillowcase that can be effortlessly cleaned in a washing machine.
Zamat has proven to be worthy of CertiPUR-US certification given to companies that deliver safe, sustainable, and durable products.
One Butterfly Pillow by Zamat will cost you $65.99 with a current discount (was $79.99). If you are unsure whether it is the right product for you, this pillow comes with a 100–day refund policy and even includes a 10–year warranty.
2. Derila — best cervical pillow for neck pain relief
Our second pick, Derila pillow, is also an excellent choice for people dealing with neck pain. It is made from memory foam and is shaped to support your neck. According to the manufacturer, this combination will allow you to keep your spine in a neutral alignment throughout the night.
This pillow is well-suited for every sleeper: no matter if you prefer to sleep on your back, stomach, or side.
At the moment, you can obtain the Derila pillow with a huge 70% discount — making it the cheapest pillow on this list. One standard-size pillow will cost you only $39.95 instead of the original price of $133.17. You can also opt for a king-sized version of this pillow.
If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can return the goods within 30 days and get a full refund.
3. Eli & Elm — best pillow for neck problems, tailored to side sleepers
If you prefer to sleep on your side, you should consider Eli & Elm Side Sleeper Pillow. Its unique U shape, as claimed by the manufacturer, is supposed to create extra support for your shoulder.
Since this pillow is made from latex and polyester, it might be a plausible choice for people experiencing neck stiffness, soreness, or other discomfort. Some research suggests that rubber (also known as latex) may be helpful in reducing neck pain.
The most distinctive feature of this pillow is its customizability: you can adjust firmness and height by removing or adding latex and polyester filling. For the firmest experience, you can invest in additional filling.
The high quality of Eli & Elm products is confirmed by CertiPUR-US certification, which is awarded to companies adhering to the highest durability and safety standards. Side Sleeper Pillow is also perfect for people susceptible to allergies as it is anti-microbial, mildew proof, and dust mite resistant.
One Side Sleeper Pillow currently costs $109.99 with a discount (was $129.99 before) and comes with a generous 45–day money-back guarantee. Noteworthy enough, all Eli & Elm products have a 5–year warranty, so you can be sure you are getting a product that will last.
4. Turmerry — best pillow for neck support
While research suggests that rubber and memory foam pillows might be best for neck pain, some people prefer softer ones. If that is the case for you, Turmerry Wool Neck Contour Pillow might be the viable solution.
According to the manufacturer's claims, this product provides neck support that could potentially help alleviate some discomfort you may be having.
The wool in this pillow is ethically sourced from small farms all across the west coast of the United States. The pillowcase is made from organic cotton sateen that ensures breathability and a luxurious feel. Turmerry has also taken various steps to reduce their carbon imprint and uses recycled bags, biodegradable sealing tapes, and reused shipping boxes for many of their shipments.
Currently, their Wool Contour Pillow is retailed at $105.00 without a discount. It has the most impressive money-back guarantee of all our reviewed products and allows a 120-day window to refund their products. Wool Contour Pillow is also covered by 1-year of warranty.
5. PlushBeds — best latex pillow to soothe neck pain
Solid Latex Pillow is a great choice if you are looking for a breathable pillow option. This organic product is crafted from latex and features a breathable cover made from cotton.
Latex is known to be temperature-neutral, meaning this pillow could be an ideal fit if you tend to get warm while sleeping. In addition, latex pillows are among the longest-lasting pillows on the market and can last up to 5 years.
This PlushBeds pillow comes in a traditional rectangle shape and is usually suitable for most sleepers — no matter their sleeping position.
The starting price for the smallest version of this pillow right now is $112.00 with a discount (was $149.00). Solid Latex Pillow comes with a 3-year warranty that will cover any malfunctions. Unfortunately, PlushBeds does not have any return policies for some of their products, including this pillow.
A side-by-side comparison of the best pillows for neck support
|Price with a current discount*
|Eli & Elm
|Latex and polyester
* — Prices can be higher depending on size.
Why does the right pillow matter for neck pain?
Studies suggest that the right pillow may be useful in preventing pain. Furthermore, it has been postulated that spinal pain could negatively affect sleep quality. Because of these factors, it is worthwhile to pay attention to your sleep habits and environment.
However, the best pillow for your neck will be the one you find the most comfortable. Although some studies point out that pillows containing springs or made from latex might help decrease neck pain in patients with chronic neck pain, it is necessary to follow your own preferences when it comes to bedding.
Keep in mind that there are a plethora of reasons why people experience pain in their necks — this too could determine whether a new more ergonomic pillow would benefit you. Additionally, a mattress for neck pain may also be considered to enhance support and minimize potential discomfort.
Benefits of using the right pillow for neck pain
If you are dealing with neck pain, upgrading to a new pillow may have positive effects and reduce discomfort.
Increase sleep quality
The right pillow may help you to increase your sleep quality. It may be more comfortable, breathable, or hypoallergenic — making it easier to fall and stay asleep. Low sleep quality is associated with neck pain.
Decrease the pain itself
Clinical trials suggest that using a rubber, memory foam, or spring pillow may help repress spinal, including cervical, pain. A comfortable pillow may also be beneficial — no matter the material. As comfort is subjective, it is recommended to explore what works best for you.
Materials and types of pillows: what works best
According to current scientific findings, rubber pillows may be the best option for people with neck pain. Softer pillows, such as natural feather ones, might be not the optimal choice if you are prone to neck soreness.
Some research suggests that memory foam pillows might be effective for some people. For example, in one clinical trial, combining memory foam pillows with exercise therapy resulted in the greatest reduction in neck pain but using the pillow alone did not have an impact. This concludes that pillows should not be used as the sole tool for pain management.
Knowing this, it is important to understand that the best pillow for neck problems might be the one that is most comfortable for you. This will depend on one’s sleeping position, material preferences, possible allergies or skin sensitivity, and various other factors. Many companies nowadays offer a money-back guarantee, so you can try out a few before committing.
How to maintain your pillow for longevity
With proper care, most pillows will last you between 2 and 5 years depending on the material.
The exact instructions on how to take care of your pillow can be found on the care tag of the pillow and the manufacturer’s website. It is crucial to review these guidelines as they may differ significantly.
For example, latex pillows usually last longer (around 5 years) but can not be thrown in the washing machine. They can only be spot-cleaned with water and mild detergent.
How to choose the right pillow for neck pain
If you are on the lookout for the best pillow for a stiff neck, you should consider a few things before committing to the investment
First and foremost, don't forget to follow your personal preferences when selecting your new pillow. After all, neck pain is linked to lower sleep quality. Only a pillow that is catered to your needs will help you to get a restful sleep. To play it safe, it's advised to opt for products that come with a hassle-free return policy.
If you are dealing with neck pain, rubber, spring or memory foam pillows might be the best choice for you. You can also try out various shapes: some shapes offer more support. For example, butterfly-shaped pillows may support your neck. Remember that even ergonomic pillows are not used to treat any type of pain, and you should always consult your doctor for a proper treatment plan.
How sleeping habits can cause neck pain
Your sleeping habits have an impact on your health, and could be one of the factors that contribute to neck pain.
A systematic review on spinal (including neck) pain suggested that a decrease in sleep quality may be associated with more intensive pain the next day, especially in the morning. Moreover, the same review reported weak to moderate evidence that sleep difficulties may increase the risk of developing chronic neck pain.
If you are experiencing neck stiffness or pain, it is worth investigating your sleep habits and whether any improvements could be made. While it is important to know how to get better sleep, it is best to consider your individual case and contact your healthcare provider if you have any concerns regarding sleep quality.
Best pillow for neck pain — conclusion
While there is some research suggesting that specific pillow materials (foam and latex) could be effective for reducing some neck pain, the best pillow for you will be the one that brings you the most comfort. This will highly depend on your sleeping position, preferences for materials, skin sensitivities, and other factors.
A good strategy for helping to find the most suitable pillow is to look for products that offer a generous refund policy in case you do not find the product satisfactory.
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Best pillow for stomach sleepers might help release muscle tension.
Best pillows for side sleepers with neck and shoulder pain could help relieve pressure points for comfortable sleep.
Is a firm pillow better for neck pain?
While research is still inconclusive, some studies have shown that using spring and rubber pillows might alleviate neck pain better than using softer feather pillows. For this reason, it is advised to try out a firm pillow if you experience pain in the neck area. Is a firm pillow better for neck pain?
How often should I replace my pillow?
The lifespan of a pillow can depend on various aspects such as maintenance, usage, and quality of materials. It is usually advised to change the pillow every 1–2 years but every situation should be evaluated individually. Always follow manufacturer recommendations for the optimal outcome.
What is the best type of pillow for neck pain?
Some clinical trials suggest that spring and rubber pillows could be effective in reducing neck pain. If you find a firmer pillow comfortable, it can be a viable tool in pain management.
- Clinical Biomechanics. The effects of pillow designs on neck pain, waking symptoms, neck disability, sleep quality and spinal alignment in adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
- BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Neck pain: global epidemiology, trends and risk factors.
- Journal of Clinical Medicine. The Association between Sleep and Chronic Spinal Pain: A Systematic Review from the Last Decade.
- The Journal of Rheumatology. Effect of therapeutic exercise and sleeping neck support on patients with chronic neck pain: a randomized clinical trial.
- Health SA. Changes in chronic neck pain following the introduction of a visco-elastic polyurethane foam pillow and/or chiropractic treatment.
- The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association. Assessing effects of a semi-customized experimental cervical pillow on symptomatic adults with chronic neck pain with and without headache.