Neck pain is an issue for many Australians but the causes aren’t always clear. If you are finding yourself waking up with a sore neck too often, it’s likely that your pillow is to blame. Your pillow’s job is to hold your neck and head at the right height to prevent unnecessary strain, so that’s why we’ve made this guide to the best pillows for neck pain.
Check out the list below for the best pillow for neck pain!
How Can Pillows Cause a Sore Neck When Sleeping?
Your head and neck spends many hours every night on your pillow, so choosing the right one is an important decision because it can mean the difference between a healthy, pain-free neck and a visit to the chiropractor. Any pillow that doesn’t properly support your head and neck creates tension in your neck muscles, causing neck and shoulder pain. The symptoms can also be exacerbated by sudden movements in your sleep such as sitting up quickly or flinging your limbs due to a dream, tossing and turning while you’re sleeping can all put stress and strain on your neck.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Pillow for Neck Pain
Most people don’t give much thought to their pillow, beyond choosing one that is soft and squishy for comfort. This is because we oftentimes don’t realise that it might be our wrong pillow is causing our neck pain and when we do realise, we may not know how to go about choosing the best pillow. If this sounds like you, you could end up choosing a pillow that’s ill-suited for your needs.
Let’s start with the pillow features and construction that can help you find the pillow that works best for you to improve sleep quality, including:
Loft – determines the angle of your head in relation to your spine and a pillow that is too high or too low can force your neck to bend at an unnatural angle, causing strain and discomfort over time.
Support – a pillow should also adequately support your neck and this is most often seen in contour neck pillows, which contour to the shape of the neck instead of leaving a space where the neck is unsupported.
Firmness Level – determine where your head comes to rest. The right pillow firmness for you will depend on how heavy your head is, how high the pillow is, what sleep position you prefer (side, back or stomach), and also the firmness of your mattress.
Pressure Relief – a good pillow relieves pressure by taking strain off of your neck and contouring to reduce pressure points. For the best results, choose a pillow that’s the appropriate shape and size for your sleeping position.
Shape – ergonomic pillows that provide enhanced support by adapting to the shape of your head and neck are a key consideration when choosing the right pillow.
Quality Materials – the quality of the materials of your pillow plays a significant role in its longevity and comfort. Keep an eye out for memory foam pillows.
The Best Anti Snore Pillows from Sleepy’s
Designed to cushion the head for superior neck support, the Belize Natural Latex High Profile Pillow with Tencel Cover has an ergonomic pillow shape that cradles you in it’s contoured shape for a comfortable night’s sleep. It also has naturally resistant latex that provides a premium sleeping environment by inhibiting the growth of bacteria and dust mites making it suitable for asthma and allergy sufferers as well.
MALOUF Z SHOULDER ZONED DOUGH PILLOW
Are you a side sleeper? This Malouf Z Dough Pillow provides a shoulder recess that is designed specifically for you and your neck. The unique mid-loft cradles natural curve of the neck while supporting your head to keep it from sagging throughout the night and increasing the tension on your neck muscles. An added benefit is you can take in the sweet aromas of chamomile, lavender and peppermint, with the complementary 2ml spritzer that infuse the pillow with their relaxing scents.
For enhanced neck support to help keep the pressure of those essential muscles throughout the night, the Next Gen Visco Memory Foam pillow is designed to keep everything in place with its even weight distribution. The open cell structure helps to increase breathability as the pressure is redistributed evenly across the pillows surface. It is also available in either Mid or Contour profiles.
Want a pillow that not only balances your sleep temperature but supports your head and neck for a cool and comfortable night’s sleep? The Fusion Gel Memory Foam High Profile Pillow is the pillow for you. The inclusion of it’s FusionGel foam combines the support of memory foam with advanced gel particles that absorb heat away from your head for a more restful night’s sleep. A high-profile pillow can keep your head supported throughout the night, preventing it from sinking and potentially damaging your neck.
Get the support your neck deserves with the Next Gen Memory Foam pillow, but now reinforced with the temperature regulating Kulkote material. This valuable feature provides a more consistent, cool and comfortable sleeping environment, making it an excellent choice for those suffering from neck pain, all year round. Also available in Mid and Contour pillow profiles.
The Tencel Fusion Gel pillow is perfectly contoured to provide the very best head and neck support to ensure muscle tension doesn’t develop throughout the night. It also uses a FusionGel foam which is a powerful combination of memory foam and advanced gel particles that work together to improve your sleep temperature. That means that even as your head and neck are supported, the fusion gel particles are absorbing the heat away from the foam for an even more relaxing and supportive night’s sleep.
This Graphene Infused Memory Foam Contour Pillow is infused with graphene particles in the memory foam which will whisk heat away from where you place your head for a more comfortable, supportive feeling for your neck. Sleeping with this pillow means a healthier night’s sleep for your neck muscles as the contour design can mould to the shape of your head, neck and shoulders.
Enjoy a peaceful, tension-free night of sleep with the Copper Gel Infused Memory Foam Contour Pillow that will rejuvenate your neck and not debilitate it. The small but powerful copper gel particles have anti-microbial properties that work to promote a healthy sleeping temperature while protecting against household bacteria at the same time. A hygienic sleeping environment makes for less tossing and turning in the night, which can only aggravate neck muscle tension.
A calm and comfortable sleep environment is necessary for helping facilitate a good night’s sleep free of that unconscious tossing and turning that often occurs during sleep. The Moonshadow® Thermocool® Pillows Powered by Reactex® is reinforced by the patent-pending technology that controls heat and energy flow around the pillows contoured surface for a temperature regulated and neck-supportive rest.
Neck pain and its relation to sleep quality
Neck pain can involve discomfort in the muscles, bones, nerves, joints, and the discs between the bones. It can cause difficulty in movement.
Sometimes, a chronic health condition, such as fibromyalgia, causes neck pain. In other cases, it can occur as a result of an accident.
While periodic discomfort in your neck isn’t typically something to worry about, it’s important to seek medical care if your symptoms don’t go away within a week or escalate to other areas of your body.
It’s difficult to sleep when you’re experiencing any kind of pain, including chronic neck pain. You might toss and turn all night to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Researchers in a 2020 study that evaluated teens found that neck pain was linked to poor sleep quality in this age group.
Another 2020 study involved 2,328 individual twins. Researchers assessed their sleep quality and chronic neck pain. Chronic neck pain was significantly associated with poor sleep quality. Researchers concluded this association is partially confounded by genetic factors.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleeping with Neck Pain
What pillow loft works best for sleeping with neck pain?
The loft of your pillow is defined as the compressed height of the pillow when your head is sleeping on it. The further your head sinks, the lower the loft and the less it sinks, the higher the loft. Those experiencing neck pain due to a poor loft should get a pillow fitting from Sleepy’s bed fit specialists to ensure your pillow is providing the correct support.
Can replacing your pillow improve neck pain?
If you’re experiencing neck pain, it could be the fault of your pillow. Especially if it’s old, it might not be supportive enough anymore. However, swapping for a new pillow doesn’t mean your neck pain will magically go away by the following morning. Pillow preference is personal, so a bit of experimenting to find the pillow and loft that’s right for you is to be expected.
Which style of pillow is best for neck pain?
Memory and latex foams are the ideal materials to help prevent neck fatigue or worsening its symptoms due to the soft nature of these materials. Contour pillows are ideal for side and stomach sleepers to relieve neck pain.
Can neck pain be a sign of something serious?
The majority of the time, neck pain can be the result of muscle tension caused by bad posture or a bad pillow. While it is rare, neck pain can sometimes be a sign of something serious and you should seek medical attention if you’re experiencing numbness in your arms and hands, a fever and headache, or shooting pain down your shoulder.
Is a high, medium, or low loft pillow better for neck pain?
It depends mostly on the type of sleeper you are. If you sleep on your stomach, it may be best to choose a pillow with a low loft to minimise the pressure on the spine. If you sleep on your back or side, a medium loft pillow allows your head, neck, and spine to form a straight line. Keep in mind that if you’re a side sleeper with bigger shoulders, a high loft pillow may also be suitable.
The bottom line
Getting relief from neck pain may be as simple as changing your pillow. To ensure your body from head to toe is appropriately supported visit Sleepy’s and ask for a pillow fitting.
There are a number of options to suit a variety of needs and budgets, so it may be worth trying a few to see what works for you.
If you still have neck pain after changing your pillow or your sleeping position, consider making an appointment with your doctor to rule out more serious conditions.