12 Best Pillows for Neck Pain (Our 2020 Review)

12 Best Pillows for Neck Pain (Our 2020 Review)

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We all want to sleep soundly and wake up without any stiffness or pain. Having the right pillow that promotes a correct sleeping posture by keeping your back aligned can help with this.

Usually, we don’t give much thought to the pillows that we buy. A pillow is a pillow…right?

Very wrong. Because some people are only concerned with the price of their pillows, it is common to not think about features that can help prevent the aches and pains that come with using the wrong pillow.

It is only when we’ve accumulated a set of body aches and neck pain that we start paying attention to the type of pillows we use for sleeping.

Aches and pains are not the only things we reap if we use the wrong pillows. If you suffer from sleep apnea and need breathing assistance, some types of pillows can interfere with or knock off the breathing system that keeps your airway open while you sleep.

Also, the wrong pillows can contribute to sleep deprivation. There are a multitude of consequences if you constantly lose sleep. Aside from not giving your cells enough time to heal and regenerate, you may also suffer from mood disorders, hypertension, slowed metabolism, and vertigo. Driving while you are sleep deprived poses a danger not only for you, but also for other motorists on the road.

In this post, we’ve reviewed the twelve best pillows for neck pain. We’ve categorized the most fitting pillow based on the needs of side sleepers and back sleepers, as well as the best ones that alleviate shoulder pain, headaches, and back pain.

Before we get to our recommendations, let’s first talk about why it is important to have the right pillow for neck pain.

Don't have time to read the entire review?

If you're a busy person who doesn't have time to read this entire review, we've simplified everything. Here is a table that provides you with a quick rating of the best pillows for neck pain.

Best Overall ChoiceBest Overall ChoiceSaatva Memory Foam Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Runner-Up OptionRunner-Up OptionCoop's "The Original" Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Value for the MoneyBest Value for the MoneyMediflow Original Waterbase Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Most Budget-FriendlyMost Budget-FriendlyWeNerya Low Profile Memory Foam Contour Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Pillow for All Types of SleepersBest Pillow for All Types of SleepersThe Easy Breather Contour Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Adjustable & Moldable PillowBest Adjustable & Moldable PillowLifekind's Buckwheat Hull Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Thin Pillow OptionBest Thin Pillow OptionBluewave Bedding Slim Gel-Infused Memory Foam Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Side SleepersBest for Side SleepersDream North Premium Gel Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best for Stomach SleepersBest for Stomach SleepersSnuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Full Size Body Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Travel Pillow to Reduce Neck PainBest Travel Pillow to Reduce Neck PainFY Living Memory Foam Contour Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Pillow for People with AllergiesBest Pillow for People with AllergiesPerform Pillow Memory Foam Neck Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Best Organic Pillow OptionBest Organic Pillow OptionBeans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

The Importance of Having the Right Pillow for Neck Pain

If you have chronic neck or back pain, you know that it can be difficult to find the right pillow that makes you comfortable. In fact, the pillow you do have may even exacerbate your pain. Because of this, it is critical to choose the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain so you can get some relief.

Having the best pillow for neck pain will increase the quality of your sleep and help determine how well your body can rest and recharge. While a bad pillow may not cause neck pain or be the root of a health problem, it can worsen headaches, shoulder and neck pain, discomfort, and even arm numbness. The right pillow, on the other hand, will contribute to sound sleep, which has a positive effect on the rest of your day.

Having the right pillow also improves your sleeping posture. A proper pillow doesn't only provide support for your neck and head—depending on your sleeping position, your pillow can help you maintain proper spine position too. Your pillow should support the natural curve of your body.

If your pillow is too high, it can put muscle strain on your back and shoulders, which can lead to poor posture. You want a pillow that keeps your neck aligned with your chest and lower back, and is adjustable to let you sleep in various positions in order to stay comfortable throughout the night.

You also want the right pillow for neck pain to help support your sleeping patterns. The best pillow for your needs should accommodate your preferred sleeping position and allow you to adjust yourself throughout the night. Some people are comfortable with sleeping on their backs, while others prefer sleeping on their sides or stomachs. You don't want to feel as if you are locked into a certain position all night in order to prevent yourself from having pain the next day.

Finally, using the right pillow for your body's shape will benefit your health needs. Some people have breathing problems and other health issues that require special positioning while asleep. You have to be able to breathe properly while you sleep to nourish and regenerate your cells.

Over half of the population snores in their sleep, which can progress to sleep apnea and lead to even more serious health complications. Not getting a proper amount of air to your lungs while you're sleeping may also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as asthma and bronchitis. The right pillow should be able to alleviate sleeping problems that can result from these disorders.

The correct type of pillow can help you avoid or improve the following:

  • Neck pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Headaches
  • Back pain
  • Breathing problems and other health issues
  • Improves posture
  • Promotes good mood and well-being
  • Facilitates a deep and relaxing sleep
  • Minimizes the risk of hypertension, heart disease, and other complications

Now that you know how important it is to have the right pillow for your body shape, you're probably wondering how you can go about finding the right pillow for your individual needs. Let's look at some important factors to consider.

Choosing the Correct Type of Pillow

The pillow should accommodate your sleeping style and pattern.

Are you looking specifically for the best pillows for side sleepers? Or do you tend to sleep on your stomach or back? Spend a few nights figuring out your preferred sleeping position.

You may already feel like you know the answer to that question, but it is best to pay attention for a few nights just to make sure. Be aware of the position you wake up in and compare it over a few days to see if it is consistent.

It should have the right firmness (not too hard and not too soft).

If you sleep on your stomach, you will want to have a soft pillow, which will allow your neck to remain in line with your spine. If you sleep on your back, you will want a pillow that is a bit firmer, otherwise your head will sink toward your mattress.

If this is the case, you might be the most comfortable with a pillow that has a thick and firm bottom that gives you some back support. Side sleepers need the firmest pillows to support their necks and spines. If you sleep in many positions throughout the night, look for a pillow that is medium to soft in firmness so you can comfortably use it in various positions.

It should provide support for your head and neck.

Ultimately, the purpose of your pillow is to provide consistent support for your head and neck. You want it to have the right amount of cushioning and the ability to have fresh air easily flow through it. You also want to make sure that your pillow fills the gap between your neck and head, even when you're moving around in your sleep.

It must have the right height (or loft) to prevent sleeping posture issues.

Stomach sleepers should look at flat pillows that will keep their necks and backs aligned. If you sleep on your back, you want a thicker pillow that will lift your head. But if it is too thick, it will push your head too far upward and strain your neck.

If your pillow is too thin and you sleep on your back, your head will fall back into your mattress. Side sleepers need thick pillows to keep their necks and spines aligned.

When choosing a pillow, make sure that it has the right height (or loft) to prevent sleeping posture issues.

It should accommodate your body type.

You want to support the natural curves of your body so your spine remains straight while you're sleeping. For example, if you naturally have a very arched back, you don't want to have to strain yourself or your muscles while you sleep due to insufficient support.

Its filling should be made with hypoallergenic materials.

If you are sensitive to allergens, exposure can make you feel awful. From sinus pressure to a stuffy nose and watery eyes, your body reacts to allergens that you inhale or touch.

Most products sold that come into contact with your skin are designed using materials that don't cause an allergic reaction, or even help deter allergens. Pillows that allow air to easily flow through them and have high-quality breathability create a dry environment where mites, mildew, and mold cannot survive.

It should be washable, or have washable covers.

While you're sleeping, your pillow collects dead skin cells, hair, drool, sweat, and all other sorts of bodily fluids. Because of this, it is important to wash your pillow on a regular basis.

This doesn't just mean washing your pillowcase—it is important to wash your actual pillow so you can ensure you get all of the dust mites out of it and start fresh so you can sleep in a clean environment.

Now that you know what to look for in the best neck pillows for pain, let's look at the twelve best options on the market today.

The 12 Best Pillows for Neck Pain

1. Best Overall Choice: Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Best Pillows for Neck Pain | Best Overall Choice | Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Saatva is a luxury sleep brand that specializes in premium materials and incredible customer service. Ranked by Forbes as one of America's Most Promising Companies, Saatva has won awards and recognition from The O

prah Magazine, Inc., The Business Intelligence Group, Wirecutter, and more. Their products are also sustainable and eco-friendly, so you can get a good night's sleep in more ways than one. This memory foam pillow is made of premium materials, with advanced technologies and white-glove service that make it simply the best choice for neck pain.

The Saatva Memory Foam Pillow has three layers of construction, for support, comfort, and coolness. The soft, breathable cover is made from organic cotton, with a phase-change material that stays cool to the touch. The pillow is made of memory foam that contours comfortably around the head and neck, with advanced graphite technology that draws heat away from the body.

Finally, it has a gel-infused memory foam core that supports the head and neck while further absorbing and redirecting heat. The cotton cover is machine washable, and the memory foams are made of 100% Certi-PUR foams that are free of harmful chemicals and will not off-gas in your home. These pillows are made in the USA.

The Saatva Memory Foam Pillow is slightly larger than standard pillows. The queen size measures 28 x 16 inches, while the king size measure 24  x 16. You can get a discount when you order a pair of pillows rather than just one. They come with free shipping, 24/7 customer service, and a 45 day return policy if you don't like the pillows.

PROS

  • Organic cotton cover and Certi-PUR foams are high quality, healthy materials
  • Three layers of construction for comfort, support, and coolness
  • Cover is removable and machine washable
  • Large, luxurious pillows
  • Suitable for all sleep positions
  • Made in the USA
  • 45 day returns

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Not necessarily a con, but this pillow isn't very firm, if you prefer a firmer pillow

2. Runner-Up Option: Coop's “The Original” Pillow

Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Coop's The Original Pillow

This is the best overall option for all sleep positions. It helps prevent headaches and pain that can build up in your shoulders, back, and neck. This adjustable pillow is hypoallergenic and extremely comfortable. The soft, washable cover can be easily removed so you are always sleeping on a clean surface.

This pillow is designed with breathable fabric to ensure that your pillow stays cool through the night. It has a durable surface made with interlocking material to increase the lifespan of the pillow. The foam is uniquely shredded for the Coop Home Goods brand, which supports your head while you sleep.

This low-maintenance pillow is easy to clean and will never be a home for dust mites. It is popular among people who suffer from allergies and asthma because it is able to keep allergen triggers out.

It is also 100% eco-friendly, which will help reduce your environmental footprint.

This product lives up to US standards, and every pillow goes through a thorough inspection before coming into your home.

PROS

  • Adjustable to suit the needs and body shapes of everyone.
  • Has a removable, machine-washable cover.
  • Dust mite resistant.
  • Made using Certi-PUR US-certified foam.

CONS

  • Not supportive enough for side sleepers.
  • Can get lumpy.
  • Quality control is inconsistent.

3. Best Value for the Money: Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow

This pillow will help improve your sleep. It has been clinically shown to improve one's sleep in four different ways while also reducing neck pain. It is adjustable so the user can choose their desired firmness, and it automatically responds when the user moves during the night so it will maintain proper support until the morning.

This pillow allows the user to have the soft comfort that is needed to fall asleep quickly, as well as customizable support from the waterbase, which lets the user maintain the proper support and sleep through the night with little interruption.

The Mediflow Waterbase pillow was ranked best in studies due to its top five-inch layer of hypo-allergenic polyester fiber that includes a thin water pouch on the underside of the pillow. This allows the user to be able to adjust the support according to what is most comfortable. While other soft polyester-filled pillows are comfortable at first but then collapse during the night, this one stays in its original shape. This pillow is gentle on the face, allowing the user to have soft comfort.

This is a great pillow for everyone, whether you are big or small, or prefer to have a soft or firm pillow. Everyone in the family can use this pillow and adjust it to their own preferred support level.

PROS

  • No issues with sloshing.
  • Appropriate for stomach sleepers.
  • It helps relieve headaches as well as neck pain.

CONS

  • Instructions are confusing for putting it together.
  • Has the possibility of leaking.
  • Heavy.

4. Most Budget-Friendly: WeNerya Low Profile Memory Foam Contour Pillow

This is the most affordable option for a quality pillow, which means it could be a great option for you if you are just starting using these types of pillows and want to try it out. It measures in at 22 inches by 14 inches by 3 inches. The cover is easily removed, so you can wash it whenever needed. Its therapeutic design helps align your head and your neck, easing the pressure off of your muscles and joints.

This pillow comes with a soft and compact temperature-sensitive memory foam that easily molds to your shape. Because this pillow is not very high, it can be used by people who prefer to sleep on their stomachs. It comes with two different heights, so the user is able to pick either the higher or lower side, depending on what is most comfortable. This pillow is softer than some others, so it might be right for you if you prefer a softer option.

PROS

  • The foam is made without formaldehyde.
  • Free from mercury, lead, and other heavy metals.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • It comes with handles for travel.

CONS

  • Some find this pillow is too soft to provide optimal support.
  • Small.
  • Not great for people who have larger heads.
  • It does not hold its shape.

5. Best Pillow for All Types of Sleepers: The Easy Breather Contour Pillow

Best Pillows for Neck Pain | Best Pillow for All Types of Sleepers | The Easy Breather Contour Pillow

Founded in 2011, Nest Bedding specializes in eco-friendly, high quality bedding that is made in the USA. Their factory-direct model allows them to be more affordable, and the fact that they control the entire production process, from factory to showroom, ensures high quality, expertise, and pride in their products every step of the way.

The Nest Bedding Easy Breather Contour Pillow is uniquely designed and engineered to reduce neck pain by keeping the neck and spine in the proper alignment, with supportive contours for neck sleepers, back sleepers, and sleepers with large or small framed bodies. It was invented for comfort and correct sleeping posture and is the best pillow to reduce neck pain no matter how you sleep.

The Easy Breather Contour Pillow is a unique, multi-contoured pillow for any sleeping position. It has raised sides for side sleepers, and a middle chamber for back sleepers. It also has two different heights on each side, for people with larger or smaller framed bodies. It eliminates the need for multiple pillows for back and side sleeping positions, with a “one-size-fits-most” structure that makes it not just a great pillow for you, but a great option for a guest room or a gift for a loved one.

The outer layer is made of soft Tencel blended fabric that is breathable and comfortable, while the inside is made of supportive certified foams. It contains no latex and is made in the USA.

PROS

  • Contoured for correct alignment and sleeping posture to reduce neck and back pain
  • Sculpted to suit back sleepers, side sleepers, and sleepers of different sizes
  • Soft and breathable outer layer
  • Supportive inner layer made of certified foams
  • Latex-free
  • Made in the USA

CONS

  • Not washable, so you need a good pillow protector

6. Best Adjustable & Moldable Pillow: Lifekind's Buckwheat Hull Pillow

Best Pillows for Neck Pain | Best Adjustable and Moldable Pillow | Lifekind's Buckwheat Hull Pillow

Lifekind was founded in 1997, based on founder Walt Bader's need to find safe and high-quality products that wouldn't aggravate his chemical sensitivities. Lifekind is dedicated to naturally safer, organic products, with transparency in ingredients and chemical components. Their products are made by hand at their Eco-Factory in California, using organic, sustainable, raw materials that are safe and kind to all life. Their workforce is dedicated to quality and craftsmanship, with an average of 10 years’ experience within the company.

Lifekind's products are made in a facility that is smoke and fragrance free, with a compressed-air filtration system, where organic materials are never mingled with conventional materials, and all raw materials are ozone sanitized prior to being used. Because of that, this buckwheat pillow is not only the most comfortable molded pillow you can get, but it's also organic, sustainable, and safe for people with sensitivities.

Lifekind's Buckwheat Hull Pillow is filled with natural, organic buckwheat hulls that comfortably mold themselves to the shape of your head and neck, with the perfect amount of softness and support in any sleeping position.

The inner buckwheat bag zips open, so you can add or remove more buckwheat for the perfect amount of support and firmness you prefer. The cover is made of GOTS-certified organic cotton, for softness and breathability. This pillow is standard sized, not small like many other buckwheat pillows.

PROS

  • Natural, organic, sustainable, and safe for all life
  • Suited for people with fragrance or chemical sensitivities
  • Naturally moldable and contours to any position
  • Adjustable filling for the perfect amount of support
  • Made in the USA

CONS

  • Not washable, so you need a good pillow protector

7. Best Thin Pillow Option: Bluewave Bedding Slim Gel-Infused Memory Foam Pillow

This is the best option for stomach sleepers who suffer from neck pain. It offers firm support and is just the right size to be ideal for those who have stomach sleeper neck pain.

The Bluewave Bedding Company set out to specifically address the thin pillow problem because of how difficult it is for people to find a high-quality thin pillow. This pillow is specifically constructed with stomach sleepers in mind to help maintain spine alignment. It also helps your body maintain a proper resting of the soft tissues that surround your neck and spine.

This pillow is available in a few profile heights and levels of firmness in order to better meet the needs of different people. However, all of the options are among the thinnest available on the market. Because of the memory foam, this product can compress more than others without becoming completely flat, and continue to give you the support that you need to keep your head comfortably rested.

Another benefit to this pillow is its cooling technology. The gel infusion in the memory foam reduces heat retention more than other foam-constructed pillows. The gel materials help draw heat from the pillowcase through the process of heat conduction. When using this pillow, as your skin comes into contact with the pillow, the pillow draws heat away from your skin, creating a cooling sensation. This infusion is used to help regulate your temperature and prevent heat from building up.

Finally, the washable cover on this pillow makes it easy to clean without compromising the integrity of the pillow itself.

PROS

  • Great for stomach sleepers.
  • Durable and long-lasting.
  • Has cooling technology.

CONS

  • May be too flat for some sleepers.
  • Not good for side sleepers.
  • Some find this pillow is too firm.

8. Best for Side Sleepers: Dream North Premium Gel Pillow

This might be the best option for you if you are a side sleeper who often experiences neck and shoulder pain. It has a sufficient amount of firmness, and provides your body with ample support.

This gel pillow has a poly gel fiber filling and is covered with a 100% cotton material to ensure that it is soft, airy, and dry. This pillow also has a long life because it is dirt-resistant and stain-resistant. Its hypoallergenic properties prevent dust mites, mold, and mildew from accumulating, which is great for people who suffer from allergies.

PROS

  • Offers a great balance of fluffy and firm.
  • Comes with a one-year warranty.
  • Can be machine washed, making it reusable and always fresh.

CONS

  • Some users find this pillow does not keep its shape.
  • Not good for those who sleep on their backs.
  • Some find these pillows to be too flat and soft.

9. Best for Stomach Sleepers: Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury Bamboo Shredded Memory Foam Full Size Body Pillow

 

This is the best overall pillow for all sleeping positions for neck and back pain. It uses a unique mix of hypoallergenic memory foam and CertiPUR-US® certified foam. This combination of foams is produced in the USA in factories that certify their quality. The small pieces of foam that make up this pillow are both soft and fluffy, which makes the pillow light and resilient to your movement.

Because the Snuggle-Pedic adjusts to your head and neck to give you ultimate orthopedic support, it easily adjusts to every position you sleep in. It also comes with a Kool-Flow® vented bamboo cover that is made with soft interlocking foam pieces that give this pillow a high amount of breathability, allowing air to come and go freely and keep you cool throughout the night.

PROS

  • Comfortable for all sleeping positions
  • Hypoallergenic material makes it a great option for people with sensitive skin
  • The air flow technology helps your body control its temperature

CONS

  • Releases an odd odor, which usually goes away within a few days
  • Goes flat after a few months of use
  • May be too firm for some people

10. Best Travel Pillow to Reduce Neck Pain: FY Living Memory Foam Contour Pillow

This is a great pillow for people who tend to travel a lot. This memory foam contour pillow has an ergonomically designed two-in-one wave-shape that allows the user to have a choice between having a higher or lower contour, depending on what is best for you. No matter which side you choose, your neck and back will be supported throughout the night.

This pillow is lightweight, allowing you to pack it up while you are on the go. Unlike some bulkier pillows, this option can be easily folded up into a confined space. This is great if you find yourself traveling a lot and leaving hotels with neck pain due to their poor pillows.

The contoured design that is used for this pillow adapts to your head's weight and conforms to your body's natural curves so your spine is aligned for a good night's sleep. This can also help reduce instances of snoring and insomnia. Made of premium dense memory foam, this pillow promotes airflow to keep your head and neck cool while you sleep.

PROS

  • Great for traveling.
  • Budget-friendly.
  • It does not get hot during the night.
  • Guaranteed to stay true to its size.
  • Naturally antimicrobial and resistant to allergens.

CONS

  • Some people find this pillow to be a bit too firm.
  • Flattens throughout the night.
  • It does not have as much “give” as other pillows.
  • It is not as contoured as other pillows.

11. Best Pillow for People with Allergies: Perform Pillow Memory Foam Neck Pillow

This is the best pillow for people who suffer from allergies. Its cover is made of 56% polyester and 43% bamboo. It is made from a specially designed foam that is recommended by orthopedists and chiropractors to give the user the best comfort and support that will allow for a good night's sleep and a refreshed morning. The memory foam is breathable and high-grade, so it will not get hot during the night.

The foam used in this pillow is eco-friendly and free from mercury, lead, and various other heavy metals that are potentially harmful. The pillow is also free from formaldehyde, unlike some other pillows that are made in other countries.

The bamboo cover is soft enough for you to use this pillow even without a pillowcase. It is also removable, so you can machine wash it whenever you want. This pillow if hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites. This is a great pillow for side and back sleepers, and it comes in two sizes for you to pick which is best for you.

PROS

  • Great for people with allergies.
  • Big enough for people with larger heads.
  • Sturdy construction.

CONS

  • Too thick for some people.
  • Some find this pillow to be too firm.
  • Not good for stomach sleepers.

12. Best Organic Pillow Option: Beans72 Organic Buckwheat Pillow

This is the best overall pillow for sleepers who experience head pain. It helps reduce headaches and migraines because the filling encourages you to be relaxed and reduces stress. These pillows are an all-natural, alternative option that originated in Asia. The hypoallergenic and triple air-cleaned buckwheat hulls that fill them make them firm and able to mold to the shape of your head, which eases any muscle tension.

The pillow’s cream-colored cover is made using 100% unbleached cotton. The cover is extremely comfortable due to the fact that it is both smooth and soft. It has a convenient zipper, which allows you to remove the hulls when you want to clean your pillow, or if you want to remove some of the buckwheat hulls in the pillow in order to suit your size preferences.

PROS

  • Great for people with allergies.
  • Eases headaches and migraines.
  • Reduces stress.

CONS

  • This pillow is especially large.
  • Some find it to be too firm.
  • It makes noise when you move around.

Conclusion

All of these featured pillows for neck pain are the best picks for their categories. Today’s overall winner, however, is the Saatva Memory Foam Pillow.

Best Pillows for Neck Pain | Best Overall Choice | Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Saatva Memory Foam Pillow

Because it is the best overall option for any sleep position, it is versatile enough to be used by anyone, and it allows you to change your sleeping position during the night without becoming uncomfortable.

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12 Best Pillows for Neck Pain (Our 2020 Review)