EachNight may earn commissions for products you purchase through links on our site. Our articles include affiliate links and advertisements, including Amerisleep, LLC advertising. Learn more Updated June 30, 2021If you’re facing constant neck pain and aren’t positive as to why, your pillow may be to blame. When your pillow is too high or low for your sleeping position, or just totally worn out, it can cause unnecessary strain on your neck muscles. Neck pain is also a result of bad posture, chronic health conditions, and muscle strains.While switching out your pillow won’t always fully resolve your neck pain or health conditions, the right pillow can soothe your pain enough to promote better quality, undisturbed rest. The best pillows for neck pain include cervical pillows, memory foam pillows, and even water pillows.We explore some of the best pillows for neck pain along with the characteristics to look for in a high-quality pillow to relieve pain and discomfort.Best Pillows for Neck PainBest Pillow for Neck Pain Overall: Amerisleep Flex PillowBest Cooling Pillow for Pain Relief: Zoma PillowBest Pillow for Firm Neck Support: Purple PillowBest Pillow for Cushioning Comfort: Coop Home Goods Adjustable Shredded Memory FoamBest Pillow for Side Sleepers with Neck Pain: Eli & Elm Cotton Side Sleeper PillowBest Pillow for Back Sleepers with Neck Pain: Epabo Contour Orthopedic PillowBest Pillow for Combo Sleepers with Neck Pain: The Water Pillow by MediflowBest Pillows for Neck PainPillowHighlightPriceAmerisleep Flex PillowMicroFlex cushions easily mold to any shape$75Zoma PillowBreathable foam pillow designed for any sleeping position$75Purple PillowPurple Grid™ is soft, malleable, and supportive$109Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft PillowAdjustable pillow with extra fill included$59Eli & Elm Cotton Side Sleeper PillowU-shaped pillow built to relieve shoulder pressure$120Epabo Contour Orthopedic PillowErgonomic design supports the head and neck$34The Water Pillow by MediflowCustomize loft by adjusting how much water is in the pillow$541. Amerisleep Flex PillowEnjoy customized comfort with the Amerisleep Flex Pillow. The Amerisleep Flex Pillow is filled with hundreds of MicroFlex cushions so you can customize the feel of your pillow quickly to suit your sleeping position.Unlike traditional microbeads or memory foam, the MicroFlex cushions are eco-friendly and CertiPur-US® certified, meaning they’re free from odor-causing chemicals.The breathable pillow cover helps prevent heat buildup on your neck. Hot air can also escape from the space between the MicroFlex cushions. The pillow cover is zippable, so cleaning is hassle-free and you won’t have to wash the whole pillow as often.The Amerisleep Flex Pillow is made in the USA. Amerisleep provides free shipping for all their products, and they also offer a 10-year warranty for the Flex Pillow.2. Zoma PillowThe Zoma Pillow is a highly versatile pillow designed to support any sleeping position. The pillow is filled with hundreds of moldable MicroCushions™, Zoma’s CertiPUR-US® certified shredded poly-foam.A common issue with foam pillows is heat buildup however, the Zoma Pillow is encased in a breathable mesh fabric. The lightweight cover ensures air flows freely through it, keeping you cool throughout the night.The Zoma Pillow is made in the USA and comes with a 10-year warranty and free shipping.3. The Purple PillowThe Purple Pillow contains a durable and breathable grid-like foam, the Purple Grid™. The Purple Grid™ in the Purple Pillow feels soft, yet supportive, soothing any pressure around your neck.The Purple Pillow is 3 inches tall on its own, but it comes with two Boosters, half-inch and 1-inch foam cushions you can place inside the pillow’s cover to reach your ideal loft. The pillow’s Breeze Mesh cover is made from a soft and breathable polyester-spandex fabric.The Purple Pillow is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and made in the USA. It comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty. Purple also offers free shipping for all of their products, including the pillows.4. Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft PillowThe Coop Home Goods Adjustable Loft Pillow has a customizable loft and firmness to support any type of sleeping position. The pillow even comes with half a pound of extra foam filling so you add or subtract foam to your heart’s content!The shredded memory foam is durable and won’t flatten under your head, ensuring you stay supported all night. The pillow’s breathable cover is made from a blend of soft polyester and bamboo rayon and is machine-washable.The Adjustable Loft Pillow is made in the USA, vegan, and cruelty-free. The materials are also hypoallergenic and dust mite-resistant. Coop Homes uses GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US® certified shredded foam in their Adjustable Loft Pillow, and the pillow is backed with a 5-year warranty.5. Eli & Elm Cotton Side Sleeper PillowThe Eli & Elm Cotton Side Sleeper Pillow has a unique U-shaped design to support your head and neck and promote healthy spinal alignment. As the name suggests, the pillow is specially-made for side sleepers and helps minimize shoulder pressure buildup, an issue many side sleepers face.The pillow contains an adjustable latex and polyester fill, meaning you can mold the pillow to adjust its firmness level and ensure it’s the right height for you. You can also add or remove the filling to further adjust the firmness level. The Cotton Side Sleeper Pillow has a smooth cover made from a cotton-polyester blend fabric.The Cotton Side Sleeper Pillow is hypoallergenic, dust mite-resistant, mildew-proof, and antimicrobial. Eli & Elm offers free shipping for their pillow, along with a 45-day return policy.6. Epabo Contour Orthopedic PillowThe Epabo Contour Orthopedic Pillow features an ergonomic contour best suited for back and side sleeping. The divet in the pillow is designed to cradle the natural curve of the head and neck, minimizing neck pain and promoting a neural spine.The contour pillow is made from breathable memory foam and a soft rayon-polyester blend cover. The cover is designed to protect the foam from dust mites, helping prevent allergic reactions and promote undisturbed sleep.The Epabo Contour Orthopedic Pillow comes with a 30-day trial period in case you decide it isn’t relieving your pain.7. The Water Pillow by MediflowWhile a water pillow may seem a bit strange, it might be what you need to ease your neck pain. In fact, water pillows are linked to reduced pain intensity and improved sleep quality. The Water Pillow by Mediflow is adjustable—you can adjust your pillow’s loft and firmness by the amount of water you add to the pillow’s bladder.Of course, you’re not just lying on a vinyl bag full of water. The pillow is wrapped in a soft, cotton casing. The cover is removable and machine washable, too.Beyond just helping neck pain, The Water Pillow is a good option if you have latex, down, or foam allergies because the pillow and its casing are hypoallergenic. The Mediflow Water Pillow is made in the USA and comes with a 30-night sleep trial and a 3-year warranty.What Causes Neck Pain at Night?Neck pain is slowly becoming one of the leading causes of disability amongst Americans, with 25 to 30 percent of Americans suffering from neck pain. Neck pain can worsen your sleep and cause sleep disruptions, and, if you aren’t sleeping enough, your body won’t effectively soothe your pain.According to a 2011 study, the wrong pillow can also be what’s triggering your neck pain, though it isn’t always the only cause. Neck pain can be the result of an awkward sleeping position, including turning your head at an unnatural angle or curling up too tightly.Chronic neck pain can also be a result of health conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, or fibromyalgia. Bad posture or incorrect form when lifting heavy objects can strain your neck and cause excruciating pain and headaches as well.What to Look For in Your PillowChoosing the best pillow suited for you is a step towards easing your neck pain. When looking for a pillow, there are several factors to consider for optimal pain relief: the fill, loft, and shape of your pillow.FillAlthough choosing a fill can come down to personal preference, pillow material affects your head and neck support, in turn impacting your pain relief. Let’s take a look at some popular type of pillow fills for neck pain.DownDown is the feathers from the underside of geese and ducks and feels soft, fluffy, and luxurious overall. Despite feeling luxurious, down offers little neck and head support. Also, down can get a bit too warm and requires frequent fluffing to prevent it from flattening out.Based on a 2011 study, feather pillows had the lowest rating in terms of sleep quality while polyester foam and latex pillows have the highest satisfaction ratings from users.Block Memory FoamBlock memory foam is a single piece of foam in a block shape. Block memory foam pillows are firm, but still, mold to your head and relieve pressure well.Block memory foam pillows are often rectangular, but they also come in an ergonomic, curved shape, featuring a crater in the center for your head and an arch to support your neck. These contour pillows are designed to provide specialized and adaptable support.Shredded Memory FoamShredded memory foam is ripped up foam and is malleable, yet supportive. You can mold a shredded memory foam pillow to suit any sleeping position and support your neck.Shredded memory foam pillows tend to be a bit more breathable than foam blocks because of the airways between the pieces of foam. With either type of memory foam pillow, you might notice a strong odor, called off-gassing, unless you choose a CertiPUR-US® certified pillow.Polyester FiberfillPolyester fiberfill, or its well-known brand name, Poly-Fil, is popular since it’s cheap, low-maintenance, and lightweight. However, polyester fiberfill isn’t the most breathable fill and isn’t very durable, either. The polyester fiber tends to lump together and flatten out quicker than other fills. It’s a good option if you’re on a budget, but if not, a different pillow fill will last you longer and offer more support.LoftPillow loft is a pillow’s height. Pillows fill the space between your neck and mattress so depending on your sleeping position, you need a certain pillow loft to fill that space correctly. Too short or tall of a pillow causes your neck to curve unnaturally, worsening neck pain.When your pillow loft is suited for your sleeping position, your spine is better aligned and your neck pain should decrease.Back sleepers should opt for a medium loft pillow (4 to 5 inches) as they don’t have much space between their head and the mattress. Still, they need a thick enough pillow so their head doesn’t curve backward while they sleep.Side sleepers have the largest space between their head and the pillow, so the best pillows for side sleepers are usually a medium to high loft (5 to 7 inches) to support their head.We should note that we don’t recommend stomach sleeping if you struggle with neck pain; when lying on your belly, your neck is twisted to the side and only aggravates your pain.Still, if you’re struggling to switch sleeping positions, stomach sleepers should use a low loft pillow (3 inches or less) or no pillow at all. Stomach sleepers can also lie facedown and just rest their forehead on a thinner pillow to avoid twisting their neck.ShapeWhile most pillows are rectangular, an increasing number of different pillow shapes are on the market, and many are specifically designed to relieve neck pain. Some popular pillow shapes for relieving neck pain include:Cervical: Cervical pillows are multiple pillow shapes in one category, but they all feature a contour in the pillow to support your head and a high arch to support your neck. A cervical support pillow is one of the best for preventing and relieving neck pain.Cylindrical: Also called a bolster or roll pillow, cylindrical neck pillows are small, roll-shaped pillows you put under your neck for support.Body Pillow: Body pillows are meant to support your entire body, including your head and neck. The most common body pillow is rectangular, but you can also find cylindrical, L-shaped, U-shaped, and C-shaped variations.FAQsIs sleeping without a pillow good for neck pain?Now, your pillow’s role is to fill the space between your head, neck, and the mattress, and prevent discomfort. Back and side sleepers typically need thicker pillows to properly fill that space and support their head. Stomach sleepers can get away without using a pillow, but stomach sleeping isn’t comfortable if you’re dealing with neck pain.How should I sleep when dealing with neck pain?When struggling with neck pain, we recommend either back or side sleeping as they best promote proper alignment without straining your neck. With either position, you want to use a comfortable mattress for neck pain relief, as well. Avoid stomach sleeping because in this position, your neck has to turn to the side, leading to stiffness, soreness, and pain.How can I relieve my neck pain?Some easy at-home solutions to relieve mild neck pain include:Apply heat or ice to the affected areaAvoid heavy lifting and complete gentle neck stretchesSelf-massage the affected areaTake over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofenIf your neck pain is persisting for longer than six weeks or worsening despite treatment, we recommend speaking to your doctor for further evaluation and treatment.How long does neck pain from sleeping wrong last?Neck pain from sleeping awkwardly typically only lasts a day or two. At most, it will last a week before fully resolving. Try at-home remedies to ease your pain in the meantime, such as trying essential oils for muscle pain or massaging your neck.How often should you replace your pillow?We recommend replacing your pillow every 1 to 2 years. Over time, your pillow wears down and grows lumpy, gets discolored, and flattens out. Not only is a worn-out pillow unsupportive, but old pillows tend to contain more bacteria from body oils and dust, even with regular washes, so it’s important to replace old pillows for hygiene’s sake as well.ConclusionThe best pillow for your neck pain should adequately fill the area between your head, neck, and the mattress. This way, your head and neck don’t have to strain themselves and leave you feeling stiff, unsupported, and uncomfortable.About the author Rosie Osmun CERTIFIED SLEEP COACH Rosie Osmun is a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Government from Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.For more than 13 years, she has been involved in the beauty, health, sleep, and wellness industries. Her work has been featured and published in Byrdie, Lifehacker, Men’s Journal, EatingWell, and Medical Daily. 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