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Best Pillow for Neck Pain in 2024

If you frequently wake up with neck and shoulder pain, upgrading your pillow can make a major difference. Many pillows lack proper neck support or may not align with your sleeping style. I often experience neck pain if I’m away from my bed and not careful about the pillow I choose to sleep on. The right pillow can help you alleviate neck pain and get a more comfortable night’s sleep. A proper pillow for neck pain can keep your body properly aligned while you’re asleep, and keep you from sleeping in a manner that will cause further discomfort. You need to consider certain factors when picking the best pillow for neck pain. The most important ones are your preferred sleep position, pillow firmness and the pillow materials. Back and side sleeping are recommended as the ideal positions for pain relief, but there are options for stomach sleepers seeking aid too. We get into the important details below, including my best pillows for neck pain recommendations and what you should know when shopping for a pillow to relieve your neck pain. What’s the best overall pillow for neck pain? My pick for the best pillow for neck pain is the Pluto Pillow due to its hybrid design, comfortable feel, its optional cool-to-the-touch cover and the fact that you can personalize it to suit you. This pillow can work for all sleepers and all body types. You can customize it to be firmer and its supportive foam makes the Pluto Pillow a winner for neck pain. I have tested over 50 pillows from 45 different top brands over the years. The nine pillows that made this list are the best pillows for neck pain on the market. I also included a few honorable mentions in case one of those might fit you better. Best pillow for neck pain for 2024 Other pillows I tested for neck pain While these pillows didn’t make my initial list, I still wanted to highlight these four pillows. One of these might work best for you and your neck pain. Tempur-Pedic Neck pillow: This popular pillow from Tempur-Pedic didn’t live up to the other pillow for neck pain options on this list. One, I found it too firm. While pillows that properly support your neck are usually on the firmer side, the Tempur-Pedic Neck pillow is more like sleeping on a rock. While that isn’t for me, it could be for you. It’s shaped to mimic the natural curve of your neck, which can be helpful for back and side sleepers. Cozy Earth Silk pillow: I’m a huge fan of this pillow, but there’s no way to get around the price — which is why this didn’t make my initial list. The Cozy Earth Silk pillow is made of 100% Mulberry silk and has a viscose bamboo shell. If you’re a stomach sleeper, this pillow is thin enough to properly support the neck and cradle the head. I love how soft it is, but if you are experiencing a lot of pain, a medium to medium firm pillow may be better. Boll and Branch Down pillow: Down and down alternative pillows usually aren’t the best for neck pain. These pillows are often softer and are prone to flattening during the night. I do think that the Boll and Branch Down Pillow sticks to its shape well and still offers support to the head. If you dislike memory foam, this pillow might work better for you. Avocado Down pillow: Like the Boll and Branch, this pillow from Avocado is also made of down. It comes in three firmness options and is Downmark certified, RDS certified and Climate Neutral certified. I tested the soft option as a stomach and side sleeper, and while I think the loft is perfect, I found it didn’t have enough support for neck pain. However, the medium and firm options may be better suited for back and side sleepers who like ethically sourced down pillows. Currently, the pillow is out of stock in the standard size and only available in a king size. How I tested the best pillows for neck pain CNET editors pick the products and services we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. We are still testing the best pillow for neck pain and will update the article accordingly. Loft The word “loft” refers to a pillow’s height. Different sleeping positions require a different pillow height. The goal is to have a pillow that supports the head and neck and keeps your spine in a straight alignment. Firmness The firmer the pillow, the more supportive it is. I looked for pillows that had a firm, supportive feel that still relieved tension around the joints. Softer, flat pillows may not be ideal when dealing with neck pain. Adjustability Many pillows these days are made to be adjustable because brands know that pillows aren’t a “one size fits all” deal. This way, you can remove filling or inserts to adjust the firmness and loft to your specific needs. It also makes pillows accommodating for different body types — the larger your build, the taller and firmer your pillow should be. Price Some people have the budget to invest in an expensive pillow that helps relieve pain, but others need pain relief without spending over $100 on a pillow. Most of these pillows are often on sale, and you can easily snag them for under $100 when they are on discount. What to consider when choosing the best pillow for neck pain Sleeping position Side sleeping has been shown to reduce pain in the neck and spine. Side sleepers can lie with a tall pillow supporting their neck and head, keeping it in a straight line with their spine. Keep a supportive pillow between the knees to maintain the hips in alignment and reduce pressure on your hips and joints. Check out our top picks for the best pillows for side sleepers for even more help with pain relief. Back sleepers benefit from medium loft pillows that keep the neck or cervical spine in a proper C-shaped curve. Back sleeping is ideal for minimizing pain because it distributes pressure evenly across your body and reduces pressure on the spine. Stomach sleepers report the greatest amount of neck pain during the day, and stomach sleeping can put added pressure on your back and shoulders. It’s not recommended as a good sleeping position when dealing with pain. That said, you can sleep with a thinner pillow or a pillow with a low loft. You can also try putting a pillow under your hips to promote better spinal alignment if you can’t switch to your side or back. Pain type Sleeping with neck pain is most comfortable on the side or back, but your pillow must keep your cervical spine in neutral alignment to avoid increased pressure on the neck. Back sleepers with shoulder pain should sleep with their pillow supporting their shoulders and neck, and another underneath their knees to relieve pressure off the spine. Sleeping with shoulder pain is most comfortable when you sleep on your back or non-injured shoulder. Back sleeping is recommended because it evenly distributes weight without disturbing either of your shoulders. Still, you can also sleep on your side with a pillow beneath your armpit to relieve pressure. Sleeping with back pain is most comfortable when you’re on your back, so you ensure straight spine and neck alignment. You can also place a pillow under your knees to relieve more pressure off your spine. Materials Certain materials are better at keeping their shape, propping your head up and cradling your neck and shoulders. The best pillow for neck pain is often made of a type of foam and has a good balance between pressure relief and support, with a decent firmness. While down or down alternative isn’t usually the best material for neck pain, if you find a down pillow with ample support and decent design, it might work for you. Loft The loft of your pillow is important when you’re dealing with pain. Your pillow’s height should accommodate your specific sleeping position to keep your spine, neck and head in alignment. Side sleepers benefit from taller, loftier pillows that support their head. Stomach sleepers benefit from thin pillows that cradle the head, and back sleepers need a medium loft that promotes a proper C-shaped curve. Best pillow materials for neck pain Memory foam Memory foam is known for its pressure-relieving properties and is a good choice for support and comfort. This is why several of our picks are made from memory foam. It’ll contour around your shoulders and head while never going flat. Latex foam Latex foam is an airy, durable and supportive foam that’s also squishy. Many brands use organic latex foam, making their pillows eco-friendly and hypoallergenic. Latex foam has similar pressure-relieving characteristics to those of memory foam but it’s much bouncier. Poly foam Polyurethane foam is cheaper to make than memory or latex foam, meaning these types of pillows are more affordable. It’s more responsive than memory foam and more like traditional soft foam than latex foam. To put things in perspective, comfortable couches are made with polyurethane foam. Best pillow for neck pain FAQs

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