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Bed Basics
Bed Basics

The Best Pillows for Neck Pain

best pillows for neck pain
Bedroom decor in black and white with cute funny pillow
Kristen Prahl

Do you ever wake up with a stiff neck or neck pain? While occasionally waking up with neck pain happens from time to time, often waking up with neck pain is a sign your pillow is not providing the proper support. Even with the perfect mattress, your sleep quality can suffer without the right pillow.

Pillows do much more than support our head during sleep; they make up 25 percent of our sleeping surface and help keep our spine in alignment, provide additional comfort throughout the night and, most importantly, provide neck and upper back support to prevent and reduce neck pain. So, if you or your partner find yourself wake up with a stiff or sore neck, consider trying a new pillow as a solution.

How to Choose a Pillow for Neck Pain

Similar to how you choose a mattress, you want to be aware of your sleep style. This will help you determine the best pillow loft to meet your needs. Pillow loft is how tall the pillow sits on the bed and comes in three categories: low loft, medium loft and high loft.

Low pillow loft typically works best for stomach sleepers and is 4 inches thick or less. Medium pillow loft often works best for back sleepers that don’t sink too far into the bed. Medium loft pillows are traditionally five to six inches thick. High pillow lofts are best for side sleepers, as the additional pillow thickness helps keep your spine aligned through the night. A high pillow loft is seven inches thick or more.

Whatever pillow loft you pick, you want to ensure your neck and spine will stay aligned throughout the night. Adding any additional pressure can lead to waking up with neck pain.

Best Pillows for Neck Pain

  • TEMPUR-Adapt® Pro-Mid + Cooling Pillow

    The TEMPUR-Adapt® Pro-Mid + Cooling Pillow is great for back sleepers that experience neck pain. With confirming TEMPUR® micro-cushions on one side and supportive TEMPUR® Material on the other, this pillow offers personalized comfort and support that adapts to your head, neck and shoulders throughout the night.
  • PureCare Body Chemistry SoftCell Select Hybrid Pillow

    If you're looking for the best type of pillow for neck and shoulder pain but also want something that will give you a cozy night of sleep, this is the pillow for you. The PureCare Body Chemistry SoftCell Select Hybrid Pillow includes an elongated SoftCell® filled with extra Identically Down (i.d.) for added neck and shoulder support. Did we mention it's reversible? Flip this pillow over for a completely new kind of comfort, which has premium temperature-neutral memory foam. The unique construction of this pillow prevents the filling from bunching, keeping you on a flat, supportive surface all night long, and reviewers even say this pillow "will work for every position of sleep you may have because of its ability to adapt to you."

The Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Headaches

If you experience the occasional headache when falling asleep or waking up, it's time to upgrade to a pillow that can help. When searching for the best pillow for neck pain and headaches, it is important to find one that supports blood flow, taking a lot of the pressure off of your head.

    • Malouf Gelled Microfiber Pillow

      Another great option if you’re on the hunt for the best pillow for neck pain is the Malouf Gelled Microfiber Pillow. This pillow is filled with gel-coated microfibers, providing the ideal level of comfort no matter which sleeping position you prefer. Reviewers resoundingly say: "I love this pillow!" The fibers mimic the soft feel of down and are encased in a 250-thread count cotton percale cover, which provides long-lasting comfort and durability.

    Best Pillow for Neck and Shoulder Pain

    • Malouf Z Zones ActiveDough Gel Mid Loft Pillow

      If you're looking for the best pillow for neck and shoulder pain, the Malouf Z Zones ActiveDough Gel Mid Loft Pillow uses ActiveDough foam, which offers a quick-response feel and the ultimate contour relief. Plus, it is infused with temperature-regulating gel to draw heat away from your body for a cooler night of sleep. One reviewer even said: "I've had the absolute best sleep, in a really long time at least, since purchasing and receiving this pillow." The pillow's zone technology relieves pressure points and has small holes within the outer layer to cradle your head and support your neck. If you want all around relief through all hours of the night, this pillow is a must-try.
    • Simmons Beautyrest Black Ice Memory Foam Pillow

      Reinvigorate your sleep with the Beautyrest® BlackICE™ Memory Foam Pillow. Offering optimal support, the Black Ice pillow contours to your head and neck and allows for temperature management throughout the night. Featuring Micro Diamond-Infused Memory Foam, this exclusive foam is composed of diamond particles that remove excess heat and contour to your head and neck for a cooler night’s rest.

    Best Neck Pillow for Travel

    • TEMPUR NeckPillow — Travel

      The Tempur-Pedic travel NeckPillow is perfect for those sleepers on the go. Created in a smaller format designed for packing, this pillow includes a convenient storage pouch and can be used as a neck roll or lumbar support during your travels.

    Don't keep losing sleep over neck pain, shoulder pain or headaches. Swap out your pillow for a new and improved version that's designed to give you to relief you need.

    For more information on pillows or to find your nearest Mattress Firm, visit

    Pillows for Neck Pain