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Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Snoozing with a supportive pillow is a great way to maintain healthy posture and guard against neck pain. No one wants to start the morning with an ache, or a stiff neck, that can last all day! Of course, with so many options on the market, it can be tough to determine which pillow will bring you sweet dreams… and which will leave you feeling sore and stiff. But don’t worry  — my best pillows for neck pain review is here!

In this guide, I’m presenting the top ten pillows designed to alleviate neck pain and unlock your best sleep potential. Plus, I’ll impart my own tips and tricks for finding the pillows that match each sleeping position, so you’re better equipped to find the one that meets your unique needs. Let’s get started!

Disclaimer: The content on Sleepopolis is meant to be informative, but shouldn’t replace advice or treatment from a medical professional. If you experience chronic pain or discomfort while sleeping, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional.

Best Pillows for Neck Pain — Top 10 Picks!

Keep reading to learn more about each of these pillows’ unique qualities and specific build that’s aligned with our idea of the best pillow for neck pain! The type of pillow you might need will vary differently depending on your body shape, size, weight, and individual preferences. Because a pillow can play such an important role in neck pain, we have tested each of our pillow picks to make your search easier.

Pricing Guide

Pillow prices range all over the board, anywhere from $35 to $100 or more. You’ll want to weigh your options carefully when choosing a new pillow that will suit your needs, and fit your budget. As pillow prices vary depending on seasonal sales that the brand may decide on, we have broken down our pricing into categories.

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$99
  • $$$ = over $99

Best Pillows for Neck Pain 2021

Editor’s Choice

Casper Foam Pillow

Casper Pillow

Up first my personal favorite — the Casper foam pillow. This pillow is designed to keep your head and neck properly aligned, preventing any future neck pain while alleviating any existing pain.

The balanced support of this pillow is designed by plush outer layers of foam to keep your head and neck comfortably cradled, and a firm inner layer of foam that conforms to pressure and supports neutral spine alignment. Back and side sleepers should appreciate the medium-firm, balanced feel and loft up to 5 inches here. This pillow maintains its shape overnight with the combination of high and low density foams.

This pillow is different from many foam pillows in yet another way — you won’t get hot throughout the night thanks to Airscape foam promoting airflow and ventilation. If you are ready to change out your pillow to relieve some neck pain, I highly recommend trying out the Casper Foam Pillow; and if you’re curious about this brand’s other products, be sure to check our Casper pillow, Casper sheets, and Casper mattress reviews!

Price: $$, with a 30-night trial period to personally test it. 

Perfect For: Side and back sleepers looking for a lofty, balanced pillow with plenty of support for neck pain.

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Casper Foam Pillow
Casper Foam Pillow
Casper Foam Pillow

The Casper Foam Pillow sleeps cool and has the balanced support that's great for back and side sleepers!

Best Cooling Pillow

Bear Pillow

Bear Pillow

If you’re looking to alleviate neck pain and stay cool at the same time, the Bear Pillow is probably the pick for you. 

Covered in Phase Change Material and filled with ventilated foam, every part of this pillow was made with hot sleepers in mind. For those who are unfamiliar, Phase Change Material is a super cooling textile that’s prominently featured in the world of bedding. It’s designed to make fabric feel icy-cool to the touch. 

The foam in this pillow is the brand’s proprietary formula, and it’s got a medium-firm feel. In my experience, its supportive firmness level held my head, neck, and spine in neutral alignment and promoted healthy posture while I slept. Not to mention, its ventilated channels prevented the foam from trapping my body heat! 

Another cool thing about this pillow is that mesh panels cap each end, serving to further boost its overall breathability. If you tend to avoid foam pillows because of their reputation for heating up, rest assured that this is one very cooling and airy pillow.

For all the details, be sure to dive into my full Bear pillow review

Price: $$, with a 100-night trial period.

Perfect For: Sleepers looking for a very cooling and breathable pillow!

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Bear Pillow
Bear Pillow
Bear Pillow

With a phase change cover, the Bear pillow is best for back sleepers who run hot. 

Best Pillow for Combo Sleepers

Saatva Pillow

Saatva Latex Pillow

Combo sleepers who want to make sure their pillow supports them in every position should definitely dive into the Saatva pillow. 

Firstly, I must admit that I’m a combo sleeper and this is the pillow I currently use at home. I’ve been snoozing with it for about two years, and am so impressed by how seamlessly it adapts to every sleep style. It’s lofty enough for side sleeping, compressible enough for stomach sleeping, and keeps me comfortably cradled when I’m on my back. 

It features a unique pillow-in-pillow design wherein a fluffy down-alternative cover envelopes a Talalay latex core. This combination strikes a cozy balance between soft and supportive, as the outer pillow offers a plush feel, while the inner core adds a buoyant boost. Plus, you have the option to use the pillow as is, or remove the middle insert!

If you primarily sleep on your back and side, I suggest using this pillow exactly as it comes. However, stomach sleepers looking to reduce the loft and firmness can easily unzip the pillow, and remove the latex core for a softer feel. For all the details on this great combo sleeping accessory, read my full Saatva pillow review

Price: $$$, with a 45-day trial period.

Perfect For: Combo sleepers looking for an all-position pillow with an adjustable loft!

Saatva Latex Pillow
Saatva Latex Pillow
Saatva Latex Pillow

A fluffable mix of down-alternative and Talalay latex makes this pillow cozy, cool, and great for combo sleepers! 

Best Pillow for Side Sleepers

Layla Pillow

Layla Kapok Pillow

Side sleepers looking for a very lofty pillow to alleviate their neck pain should look no further than Layla!

This shredded memory foam pillow filled with Kapok, fibers harvested from the seed pods of Kapok trees which are used as a down alternative, features an exceptionally lofty 7-inch profile. This is particularly beneficial to side sleepers, as a lofty pillow of at least 4-inches is needed to keep healthy posture and relieve shoulder pressure. That said, this is one of the loftiest pillows I’ve ever tested, which might make it best-suited to those with broad shoulders. 

As a hot sleeper, one of my favorite things about this pillow is its copper-infused cover fabric! It’s primarily made from polyester (which feels very soft to the touch), but has copper threads discreetly woven into the material in order to draw heat away from the body.

If you want to know more about my personal experience snoozing with this side-sleeper pillow, check out my full Layla pillow review

Price: $$$, with a 120-night trial period and a 5-year warranty!

Perfect For: Side sleepers looking for a lofty pillow to alleviate their neck and shoulder pain!

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Layla Kapok Pillow
Layla Kapok Pillow
Layla Kapok Pillow

A copper infusion in the cover helps to make the Layla pillow ultra cool and comfortable. 

Best for Pressure Relief

GhostPillow Memory Foam

GhostPillow Memory Foam

If you struggle with neck pain, you know how impossible it can seem to find a pillow that keeps your neck in line and also relieves pressure. The GhostPillow memory foam pillow not only excels at cradling all your sensitive points, but also keeps you super cool all night long. The core products of the pillow have great neck support, but the soft memory foam on the outside allows you to feel cradled and comfortable no matter your preferred sleep position.

Typically I find that neck pain sufferers try to sleep on their back to prevent furthering the pain, and that is really where this pillow excels. It is the perfect amount of lift to keep the hips, neck and spine in line all night long. 

Price: $$, with a 101-night trial period.

Perfect For: Back sleepers needing supportive relief, as well as hot sleepers!

GhostPillow Memory Foam
GhostPillow Memory Foam
GhostPillow Memory Foam

The GhostPillow Memory Foam offers some great support and pressure relief through its dense yet gentle memory foam fill.

Best Organic Pillow

Avocado Pillow for Neck Pain

Avocado Green Pillow

Eco-friendly sleepers looking to alleviate neck pain with an all-natural pillow are going to be most compatible with the Avocado Green. 

From the cotton cover fabric to the internal fill, this entire pillow is made from organic materials. It’s filled with a blend of shredded Dunlop latex and a sustainable tree fiber called Kapok, which combine to offer a medium-firm feel. Additionally, it has a quick response to pressure that lets the sleeper rest on top of the pillow rather than sink into the material. 

One of my favorite things about this pillow is that it’s adjustable, which allows sleepers of all styles to find their perfect loft. If you find this pillow to be too lofty or firm, simply unzip the pillow and remove the stuffing until you’re satisfied! That said, I suggest stomach sleepers remove some fill to reduce the loft before snoozing with this pillow. 

This pillow is traditionally shaped, which means you’re more than welcome to dress it with a pillowcase. But its organic cotton cover fabric is hypoallergenic, soft, and easily machine washable (so feel free to enjoy it without a pillowcase!). 

For the full scoop on this pillow, be sure to check out my full Avocado pillow review

Price: $$, with a generous 100-night trial and a 1-year warranty. 

Perfect For: The eco-friendly sleeper looking for a supportive pillow with an adjustable design!

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Avocado Green Pillow
Avocado Green Pillow
Avocado Green Pillow

Made with all-natural latex, the Avocado pillow is both eco-conscious and supportive! 

Best Latex Pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

Purple Harmony Pillow

The Purple Harmony is an all-position pillow designed to support you whether you snooze on your back, side, or stomach — or a combination of these!

Made from a blend of Talalay latex and Hyper-Elastic Polymer, this pillow offers a springy kind of support that adapts to the natural contours of your head and neck. For those unfamiliar, Hyper-Elastic Polymer is the brand’s proprietary material, designed to be super bouncy and durable. It’s kind of rubbery, has a very quick response to pressure, and helps this pillow maintain its shape. 

In my experience, this pillow’s quick response to pressure served to hold my head, neck, and spine in neutral alignment. I was also impressed by how it returned to its original shape every morning, rather than losing its loft and support. Plus, its ability to support me in every position makes it an excellent choice for combo sleepers.

Additionally, hot sleepers might like to know that every part of this pillow’s construction is ventilated for better breathability! For more about my personal experience snoozing with the pillow, be sure to check out  my full Purple Harmony review.

Price: $$$, on the high end of price tags for pillows — but keep in mind that you’ve got a 100-night trial period to test it out. 

Perfect For: Combo sleepers looking for a bouncy and breathable pillow!

Purple Harmony Pillow
Purple Harmony Pillow
Purple Harmony Pillow

The Purple Harmony is great for any position sleeper and is extremely breathable to help you sleep cool through the night!

Best Memory Foam Pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

If you’re a memory foam fan who sleeps hot, this pillow is for you.

Filled with one thick piece of Tempur-Pedic’s memory foam, the TEMPUR-Cloud Breeze offers a moldable feel, and a super slow response to pressure. Those who like to sink deeply into their pillow are likely to be most compatible with this one. Plus, it features a high loft and medium-firm feel, ideal for helping side sleepers maintain healthy posture. 

That said, a common complaint about memory foam is that it traps heat and warms up throughout the night… But not this pillow! Two proprietary cooling gel pads keep both sides of the pillow feeling cool and cozy all night long. As a hot sleeper myself, I can tell you this is one of my all-time favorite memory foam pillows because it feels so cooling against my face.

That said, those who love memory foam but don’t want a cooling pillow should check out my full review of Tempur-Pedic pillows (this brand offers quite a few options!). But if you’re a side sleeper looking for a cool and soothing memory foam pillow, I heartily suggest you give this one a try. 

Price: $$$, a little pricier than the others in this roundup — but, to me, the fact that it’s backed by a 5-year warranty inspires confidence that this brand proudly stands behind its product.

Perfect For: The side sleeper who runs hot and loves the feel of memory foam! 

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Cloud Pillow

The TEMPUR-Cloud pillow provides the great body contouring memory foam feel that Tempur-Pedic is known for and is a great choice for the back sleepers out there!

Best Down Pillow

Brooklinen Down Pillow

Brooklinen Natural Down Plush

Stuffed full of Canadian down feathers, this Brooklinen Natural Down Plush Pillow features a high fill power of 600. When shopping for down products, it’s important to note that fill power determines how fluffy and lofty it’ll be (and 600 means very fluffy). Sleepers in the market for big ol’ feather pillows are sure to enjoy this one. 

That said, this pillow’s tall 5-inch profile is easily compressed into a low loft of 2-inches, as natural down is a very soft material. In fact, this pillow has a malleable quality that lets you push, press, and fold it to meet your unique needs. As for me, I like to fold one corner under my arm when I’m on my side for extra comfort.

Meanwhile, sleepers with allergies might like to know that this down has been treated with Ultra Fresh Antibacterial Additives, an OEKO-Tex technology used to make it hypoallergenic. So if you tend to avoid real down because of sensitive skin or allergies, just remember that this pillow was crafted to be extra resistant to mold and mildew.

Learn everything there is to know about this pillow in my full Brooklinen Natural Down pillow review!

Price: $$, which is a great value for a natural down pillow. Plus, Brooklinen offers a 365-day return policy and a lifetime warranty.

Perfect For: Sleepers of all styles looking for a soft and lofty pillow filled with 100% real down!

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Brooklinen Down Pillow
Brooklinen Down Pillow
Brooklinen Down Pillow

Brooklinen's Pillow provides plush and fluffy comfort for those interested in ethically sourced down! Enjoy 10% off your order with code SLEEPOPOLIS10!

Best Pillow for Stomach Sleepers

Nolah AirFiber Pillow

Nolah AirFiber Pillow

Okay, stomach sleepers — this one’s for you. The Nolah AirFiber pillow is soft, fluffy, and made with the prone position in mind. 

Filled with the brand’s proprietary down-alternative, the Nolah AirFiber pillow is super soft and compressible into a very loft. Remember: stomach sleepers need a soft, low-lofted pillow in order to maintain healthy posture and alleviate neck pain. That said, this pillow can be pushed, folded, and pressed into a loft of less than an inch! 

Stomach sleepers who love the feel of real down but don’t want to sleep on animal products are probably going to be most compatible with this pillow. It’s crafted to feel feathery but, rest assured, no real feathers are used to make it! It’s 100% hypoallergenic, so those with down allergies should feel free to roll around with the Nolah AirFiber.  

Plus, its cotton cover fabric is infused with Phase Change Material, a super cooling textile used to pull heat away from the body.

Stomach sleepers who run hot should definitely take a look at my Nolah pillow review

Price: $$, with a 120-night trial period!

Perfect For: Stomach sleepers looking for a fluffy, feathery, cooling pillow!

Nolah AirFiber Pillow
Nolah AirFiber Pillow
Nolah AirFiber Pillow

The fluffy down-alternative in this pillow allows sleepers to shape and fold it until they've found the loft and firmness of their liking!

Methodology: How To Pick The Right Pillow For Neck Pain

Below, I’ll break down the key factors to consider when picking the right pillow for your position, and let you know how to avoid the ones that might strain your neck!

Finding the Right Loft & Firmness for Neck Pain

When it comes to relieving neck pain, neutral spine alignment is the name of the game. You’ll hear me mention this a few times, but promoting neutral spine alignment is your pillow’s most important job (whether you deal with chronic neck pain or not).

Now, you might be wondering, “How am I supposed to know if my spine is in neutral alignment?” Well, here’s a trick I like to use: If your spine is in neutral alignment, your ears should be in line with your shoulders, and your chin should be in line with your sternum. So when you’re lying in bed, take some time to see if your chin is being craned upward, or if your ear is pressed into either shoulder. If so, it’s time to readjust and regain a healthy posture.

Neutral Spinal Alignment
It’s important to find the right pillow for your sleep position

That said, it’s important to match your pillow to your preferred sleeping position in order to keep a healthy posture. To find the right fit, you’ll need to keep a close eye on the pillow’s loft (height) and firmness rating. So let’s take a closer look at the best loft and firmness for each position:

  • Side Sleeping – Side sleepers need a high-lofted pillow with a profile of at least 4-inches tall. This serves to hold the head in neutral alignment with the spine, and relieve pressure at the shoulders as well. Additionally, side sleepers should aim for a firm pillow that maintains its shape and loft throughout the night.
  • Stomach Sleeping – Stomach sleepers need a low-lofted pillow with a soft feel in order to keep the head in line with the spine, and prevent it from being craned upwards. That said, stomach sleepers can choose a pillow with a lofty profile, as long as the internal fill is soft enough to compress into a loft of 2-inches or less.
  • Back Sleeping – Back sleepers are typically most compatible with a medium level of loft and firmness, but have some room to experiment. Some may prefer a firmer feel, while other back sleepers may enjoy more plush and cushy comfort. Just remember that neutral spine alignment is the most important factor, so if you find that your chin is being pushed toward your chest or your neck muscles are engaged, your pillow is probably too lofty.

Before we move on to the next factor, remember that you can find a more in-depth explanation of how to keep a healthy sleeping posture in my complete guide to picking the right pillow!

Choosing The Right Materials to Guard Against Neck Pain

Once you’ve settled on the right loft and firmness, it’s time to focus on the material details. From foam to feathers, pillows can be filled with all kinds of materials (and each one offers its own unique support!) So let’s explore some of the most popular ones below:

  • Memory Foam – Memory foam has a moldable feel and a slow response to pressure, making it a great pick for sleepers who like to sink deeply into their pillow. The memory foam can come in one solid piece, or be shredded for a fluffier, more breathable feel. Back and side sleepers are often most compatible with this material, as it does a great job conforming to the head and neck while maintaining its loft. That said, some memory foam pillows are built either as a contour pillow or as a thin pillow to accommodate stomach sleepers (but make sure it’s 2-inches tall or less!).
  • Latex – Latex pillows are typically lighter in weight with a bouncy-quick response to pressure. Again, the latex can come in one piece, or be shredded for a more fluffable feel. If you don’t like the feel of memory foam, you may prefer the way latex lets you rest on top of the pillow instead of sinking into it. In my experience, latex pillows can be great for all positions, as they offer a springy kind of support that quickly adapts to each sleep style.
  • Down & Down-Alternative – Down and down-alternative pillows offer a soft, compressible feel that’s typically best for stomach sleepers. Stomach sleepers looking to alleviate neck pain might want to start here, as these materials can be fluffed or pressed into the loft that works best. That said, back and side sleepers looking for a high-lofted down pillow with a feathery and firm feel should pay close attention to “fill power.” Fill power ranges from about 300-900, and a higher fill generally produces a loftier and firmer pillow.

If you’re still not totally sure which material sounds right for you, don’t worry — we’re about to get up close and personal with each one. But before we do, there’s one last thing to consider: when to replace your pillow.

When To Replace Your Pillow

Once you’ve found the perfect pillow, it can be tempting to check “cure neck pain” off your list and move on. But replacing a pillow that no longer supports you is a key factor in the fight against neck pain!

That’s why I recommend checking in with your pillow every 6-8 months. If you notice that it’s gone flat, feels lumpy, or is no longer maintaining its shape throughout the night, there’s a good chance it needs to be replaced.

Of course, some pillows filled with soft, compressible materials (like down, down-alternative, or polyester, for example) need to be frequently fluffed in order to maintain integrity. So if you see that your brand new down pillow has lost its loft, don’t throw it away just yet! Instead, give it some enlivening fluffs to bring it back to life.

Other Tips for Neck Pain Sufferers

A new pillow can help relieve quite a lot of neck pain, but there are additional ways to help alleviate your sore or stiff neck. Everyday tasks, especially looking down at your electronic device (like you may be right now) can affect your neck muscles, causing neck or back pain. Small lifestyle changes such as stretching, adjusting your posture when you notice yourself slumped over, and maintaining exercise can really make a difference when it comes to neck pain. 

Using cold and hot compresses can also provide quick relief to an aching neck. If the pain continues to linger after investing in one of our best pillows for neck pain, you may want to head to your local massage or chiropractic office. An orthopedic pillow, or cervical support pillow, may go hand-in-hand with a chiropractor’s plan for treating your neck pain. Always consult a health professional before starting any kind of treatment. 

Finally, it’s important to sleep on the right mattress. The best mattress for neck pain is going to be supportive enough to help promote a neutral spinal alignment. You’ll also want to pair your pillow with your mattress. For example, on a soft mattress with sinkage, you’ll want a low-loft pillow to keep your neck in proper alignment, while a firm mattress necessitates a high-loft pillow to keep your head properly elevated.

Okay, folks, now that we’ve covered the main points to consider, let’s wrap up with a look at my final thoughts!

My Final Thoughts About Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Well sleepers, we’ve reached the end of my guide and you’re well on your way to finding your new pillow that’ll provide pain relief. And as you carefully consider all your options, don’t forget to pay close attention to materials, loft, and firmness in order to find your perfect pillow match for a good night’s sleep. Oh, and be sure to follow Sleepopolis on social media, and subscribe to our YouTube channel! Happy sleeping, everybody.

FAQs

What is the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain?

In order to alleviate neck pain, side sleepers need a pillow with a lofty profile and medium to firm level of support. This will serve to hold the head, neck, and spine in healthy neutral alignment.

Can pillows cause neck pain?

Sleeping with a pillow that doesn’t properly support you can definitely cause neck pain! That’s why it’s so important to pick the sleep accessories that fit your body type and support you in your go-to sleeping position.

Is sleeping without a pillow better for your neck?

Back and stomach sleepers may find that sleeping without a pillow helps them maintain neutral spine alignment, but side sleepers need a pillow in order to keep healthy posture and relieve pressure at the shoulders and hips.

Summary: The Best Pillows for Neck Pain

PillowsBest ForPrice
Casper Foam PillowEditor's Pick$89-$119
Bear PillowCooling$125-$145
Saatva PillowCombo Sleepers$155-$175
Layla PillowSide Sleepers$109-$129
GhostPillow Memory FoamPressure Relief$85
Avocado PillowOrganic$89-$109
Purple Harmony PillowLatex$159-$199
Tempur Cloud PillowMemory Foam$69-$119
Brooklinen PillowDown$99
Nolah AirFiber PillowStomach Sleepers$79
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Sarah is the Senior Writer and bedding expert at Sleepopolis. Every week, she personally tests and reviews new pillows, sheet sets, and other sleep accessories. She accompanies every video review with a meticulously detailed article to ensure her audience has all the pertinent info they need for the best shopping experience possible. Perhaps that’s why her fans have dubbed her “the most thorough pillow reviewer on the Internet.” Having tested everything from sleep trackers to mattress toppers, Sarah's expertise runs deep and is always expanding. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and spends her free time doing stand-up, making pasta, and hanging with her cats.