Do you have trouble sleeping through the night because of neck pain? Is waking up and getting moving in the morning a literal pain due to neck stiffness? You’re not alone, and if you’re like millions of other people, it may be your pillow that is to blame.
That’s right. The wrong pillow can leave your neck unsupported and your spine out of alignment all night long. This can lead to pinched nerves, sore muscles, headaches and migraines, reduced circulation, snoring, general stiffness, less flexibility and range of movement during the day, and reduced quality of sleep throughout the night.
But we bet you already suspected some of that.
The key to reducing all that stress on the spine and getting back to a healthier alignment during the nighttime hours is all in how you support your neck.
When resting, your head, neck, and spine should be resting on the same level so that they do not tilt in any direction, whether individually or together.
As it turns out, a memory foam pillow that is designed with the spine in mind is our friend in this case. The overall shape of the pillow aligns the spine while the memory foam contours to our unique shape, giving that extra bit of support and comfort that is oh so necessary to finally get some real Zzzs.
Finding the right memory foam pillow
Now you know what’s been interfering with attaining the perfect night’s rest and waking up fully relaxed and ready for the day. The next step on this journey is finding the right pillow for you.
Consider how you sleep at night. Someone who sleeps on their side will need a higher pillow to attain proper spine alignment compared to someone who primarily sleeps on their back. As for stomach sleepers, they need the lowest pillow of them all.
And don’t forget that your shoulder width is important too. If you have broader shoulders, you will need to add an extra inch or two to the height of your pillow choices so that the pillow rests comfortably under your head while supporting it. If you have narrow shoulders, you may need to consider a pillow that is slightly lower so that your neck doesn’t end up too raised and out of alignment with the rest of your body.
#1 Best complete pillow for neck and back pain: Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow – $99.99
The Dosaze contoured orthopedic pillow makes it to the top of our list for so many reasons. Not only does it top the charts for quality with careful manufacturing using ultra-high quality memory foam, but it is also perfectly shaped to cradle and form to the neck and support the spine’s natural curvature with its sleep wave design.
This is the number one pillow for reducing neck pain and discomfort.
In addition to being created specifically with your health and comfort in mind, there are also a few other practical aspects. The cover is easily removed for washing, and it comes with a 60-day satisfaction guaranteed return policy in case you are one of the few who doesn’t find sleep perfection in its design.
#2 Best for side sleepers: Plush Beds Shoulder Zoned lavender pillow – $105-$139
If you are a side sleeper, this pillow was pretty much made just for you. The shoulder recess creates the perfect supportive spot to lay your head while having your neck completely supported in the right position for a good night’s rest and the least amount of stress on your spine. As a bonus, the lavender aromatherapy scent will turn ordinary sleep into a luxury experience.
There is one minor detail, though. You will have to use the provided spritzer to keep that lavender scent lasting over time.
#3 Best multi-layer design: Casper foam pillow – $89-119
While this almost looks like a traditional pillow, it had an incredibly lot going on hidden inside. Not only does the three-layer design using both low and high-density foam help to promote proper sleep posture, but it also allows for airflow, guaranteeing a cool pillow all night long. This can be a real relief in summer and in warmer climates.
The pillow does come with one downside if you’re not a fan of extra sorting when doing laundry – the cover needs to be washed using the delicate cycle.
#4 Bought most often on Amazon: Coop Home Goods premium adjustable loft pillow – $59.99-54.99
While many flock to this memory foam pillow for the price, there is more to it than just a good bargain. This pillow is adjustable so that you can find just the right height for you. If it turns out you have too little or too much, all you need to do is add or remove some of the foam fill until it is the perfect pillow for you.
The downside? Adjusting this adjustable pillow can get a little messy, with foam flying everywhere. We recommend not doing it anywhere near carpeting.
#5 Best luxury pillow for neck pain: Saatva latex pillow – $145-165
If you have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket, this is what you need to spend it on. The Saatva pillow has a shredded 100% Talalay latex core for unique head and neck support that lasts throughout the night. For convenience, it also comes with a removable inner core as well as a cotton and machine-washable cover.
As for negatives, while they are few and far between, some purchasers have complained that it’s too heavy of a pillow. However, many have found that extra weight helps to keep the pillow in place throughout the night.
#6 Best budget pillow: Ikea Osenskarm pillow – $14.99
Do you want to relieve back pain without hurting your budget? This is a great starter pillow to see what neck support pillows can offer you when it comes to pain relief. The two-layer design includes a layer of supportive foam for the neck and an additional softer layer to provide comfort while you sleep.
While it’s a great option if you don’t want to invest a lot, this one will only be a perfect fit for those with a smaller frame. It’s simply too low to offer real neck support for anyone with medium to wider shoulders.
#7 Best cooling pillow: Tempur-pedic Breeze pillow – $199-$249
The Tempur material provides pressure relief like only Tempur-pedic can do. It comes in both high and low options so you can choose what works best for your own sleep style. And on top of that, the technology offers a cool and comfortable sleep experience. In fact, the only thing prohibitive about this pillow is its price tag.
#8 Best classic pillow: Amerisleep comfort classic pillow – $90-115
While this pillow wasn’t designed specifically to support the spine, the unique material does offer some extra relief. If you aren’t ready to give up on the traditional pillow shape and you only need a little additional support to get back in alignment, this may be the best practical solution for you.
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