Best Pillows For Side Sleepers With Neck Pain: 10 Top Picks Reviewed
The type of pillow you use has a profound effect not only on the quality of your sleep, but also on the physical condition of your body. The wrong pillow can lead to interrupted sleep, a stiff or sore neck, headaches, back pain and more. Probably the most common of these symptoms is waking up with a sore neck, and this is especially true for side sleepers. This article discusses and reviews the best pillows for side sleepers with neck pain.
If you are suffering from a sore neck, or often wake up feeling stiff or with a headache or back pain, odds are you are using the wrong pillow. Pillows are so often overlooked as an investment. It is common place for people to be satisfied with a mediocre pillow. When you consider how much time you spend sleeping, this is so nonsensical. Having the right pillow can make such a big difference not only to your sleep, but also to your overall way of life. Are you tired of waking up sore? It’s time to make a change and get the right pillow for you.
What is the Best Pillow to Sleep on for Neck Pain?
How To Pick A Pillow For Neck Pain
Generally the root cause of waking up with a sore neck is the quality of support your pillow provides. The ideal sleeping position for side sleepers is one which keeps your spine in alignment with your neck. This means that your neck should be level with your spine. If you have insufficient support, your neck will be angled downwards. Inversely, it is common for people to over compensate by having a pillow which is too large, or using multiple pillows. This angles your neck upwards and again out of alignment with your spine. Whether your pillow is not supportive enough or is too large for you, the effect is that you are putting strain on your neck and shoulder muscles while you sleep. Purchasing the right pillow with the right support will help solve the problem.
When choosing a pillow for side sleepers with neck pain, there are a few factors to consider. These are the type of pillow and the material it is made of, the size of the pillow, whether it has cooling benefits and the brand itself.
Out of the different types of pillows, the most supportive and best for side sleepers with neck pain are memory foam (especially shredded memory foam), gel fiber, latex, water and buckwheat. Each type offers various benefits and not every pillow will suit your personal needs. Therefore it’s important to consider the differences between the types and decide on the style that best suits you. You may also want to consider the best body pillow for side sleepers.
You also need to consider the size of the pillow. Ideally you will find a pillow which suits your personal body frame. As you want the pillow to keep your neck aligned with your spine, consider the distance from your neck across your shoulder. This is roughly the width of the pillow you want to find.
If you live in a hot area, or generally find that you become uncomfortable at night due to the heat of your pillow, you can consider a pillow which offers cooling benefits. While neck support should be your primary consideration, waking up every night due to heat isn’t great either.
The brand and manufacturer of the pillow is also important. Ensure that it’s a reputable brand and not a copy or fake. This should be easy to determine by reading the product reviews. Further, some brands will offer a warranty with their pillows.
Finally, ensure that you spend sufficient time reading the product reviews. These will give you a string indication of how effective the pillow is at easing neck pain. Remember, your pillow is an investment. It makes sense to take the time to ensure you purchase the right one for you.
What is a Good Pillow for Side Sleepers?
With such a wide range of pillows available on the market ranging from very soft to thicker, more resistant products, it can be tricky to find the best pillow for you as a side sleeper. It’s actually the most common position people sleep in and, unlike when sleeping on your front and your back, sleeping on your side can cause some issues with posture, so the best type of pillow for you will be one that is a medium-high thickness.
Traditional or contoured high-fill down or memory foam pillows would be great, preferably that are about 10cm from the surface of the bed as they will hold you at a good angle and won’t flatten as much after regular use. To further aid with posture you may even want to try sleeping with a low density one between your knees as well. This will help to align your upper hip and make you feel much more comfortable by reducing the pressure you feel.
Synthetic fibers are, of course, preferable for those who have allergies to feathers, but the main importance is that you have one that is firm and provides plenty of support so your head stays in a good position and you are able to get an effective sleep.
There are several different types of pillows made out of various materials offering different levels of support. Each offers advantages and disadvantages, with some being ideal for side sleepers with neck pain.
Feather filled pillows
These pillows are very common and easy to get. You can find them just about anywhere. Feather filled pillows vary in their supportiveness depending on how densely packed the feathers are. However even the dense ones tend to lose their shape fairly quickly. While they are cheap, for this reason they are not recommended for side sleepers with neck pain.
Down alternative pillows
Down alternative pillows use feathers generally from the bellies of ducks or geese. They can be seen as the luxury version of feather pillows. The feathers they use do make them soft and comfortable. However, they will not offer your neck great support in the long run.
Memory foam pillows
Memory foam pillows are contoured in shape and will mold to the shape of your head. Once pressure is released, they then spring back to their original shape. While they do mold to your head, they are very supportive and comfortable at the same time. They are great pillows for side sleepers with neck pain. They are also durable and long lasting.
It is also possible to get shredded memory foam pillows which offer further advantages. Since the memory foam is shredded, they are much more foldable providing a little more flexibility. Being shredded, air is also able to pass through the pillow allowing it the cool down much better than standard memory foam pillows. This makes them a best neck pillow for sleeping on your side.
Latex pillows for side sleepers are a popular and relatively new innovation. They are generally more expensive but are very long lasting. They are firmer than memory foam pillows and will not allow the heads to slump. They provide a high level of support to the neck and head, relieving the strain from your your shoulders.
Gel fiber pillows
Gel fiber pillows are made from memory foam microfibers. This allows them to mold to your head in a similar way, however they are softer and more flexible. This means that they are not quite as supportive as regular memory foam or shredded memory foam. They do however have the benefit of being easy to clean and are also a cooler pillow unlikely to heat up much during the night.
Buckwheat pillows are all natural and made from buckwheat. They are firm, yet supportive as the buckwheat does not compress too much. They are a heavier pillow so are not desirable if weight is an issue for you. Buckwheat is effective at releasing heat making them another good option for those wanting a cooler pillow. A good one will let you modify the amount of buckwheat inside, allowing you to alter the degree of support the pillow offers. They are a more expensive pillow, however are long lasting.
Water pillows require that you fill them with tap water. This has the benefit of allowing you to determine how much support you get my altering the amount of water inside. This is easy to do and let you find the optimal water volume by trial and error. They are relatively cheap.
Best Pillows For Side Sleepers With Neck Pain Reviews
- Shredded memory foam
- Removable cover (60% polyester, 40% bamboo rayon)
- Available in queen and king
- Allergen resistant
- Machine washable
- Money back satisfaction guarantee
Made from shredded memory foam, this pillow has so much to offer. Not only does its shredded memory foam provide the support of memory foam, it also provides the comfort and flexibility you would expect from a down pillow. This makes it a top choice for the best pillow for side sleepers with neck pain.
The pillow’s fabric is specially designed to promote temperature regulation. This coupled with the breathable nature of shredded memory foam which allows for superior air circulation means that you will be kept cool at night. Shredded memory foam is much more flexible than standard memory foam meaning you can adjust the pillow to suit you. The most undeniable benefit of this pillow is the support it provides to your neck. You will sleep comfortably with no strain on your neck or shoulder muscles.
The queen size has dimensions 18 x 12 x 3 inches, and the king is 19 x 11.5 x 3 inches. Finally, this pillow is safe for allergy sufferers, being hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. It is also easy to wash, just put it in the washing machine! It comes with a 5 year warranty. You might also be interested in our other bamboo pillows reviews.
- Visco elastic memory foam
- 100 per cent cotton cover
- Size: 18 x 24 inches
- Also available in contour and gusseted styles
Made from memory foam, this Sleep Better Iso-Cool pillow will support your neck and provide the plush comfort you desire. The cover is made from 300-thread 100% cotton and is hypoallergenic. It can easily be zipped off the pillow and washed in any washing machine. This pillow has the benefit of being able to efficiently regulate temperature. Made from a material which adjusts to your body temperature, it will either feel warm if you are cold, or cool you down if you are warm.
Most importantly, you will sleep with a supported neck ensuring you wake up refreshed and rested. This pillow has been a complete life changer for many of the happy customers. It provides the perfect combination of support and softness. Read our full iso cool memory foam pillow review.
The Sleep Innovations Contour Memory Foam Pillow is designed to properly align your neck and spine while you sleep, relieving your neck and shoulder muscles from strain. With your muscles relaxed, you will sleep comfortably. The memory foam material will ensure support is continued all throughout the night. The cover can easily be removed and washed in any washing machine. This pillow comes in either queen (24 x 15 x 5 inches) or standard size (20.8 x 14.2 x 4.8 inches). It comes with a 5 year warranty. This is another favorite for the best pillow for side sleepers with neck and shoulder pain.
- Allows you to adjust the support by adding or removing water
- Top layer provides softness and comfort
- Includes a satisfaction guarantee
The Mediflow Original Waterbase Pillow is an innovative product which delivers comfort and adjustable support at the same time. The majority of the pillow is made from soft polyester which provides the comfort that you need. Underneath this layer is a thin water pouch in which you can adjust the amount of water to align with your support needs. Want more support? Just add more water. This makes the pillow so flexible because you can find the right level of support by trial and error. This customizing ability makes it one of the best pillows for side sleepers with neck pain. It measures 28 x 20 x 4.5 inches and comes with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee and a 1 year defect warranty.
- Made from memory foam
- Allergen resistant
- Available in queen and king sizes
- Cotton cover can be removed and washed
The Classic Brands Conforma Memory Foam Pillow will properly align your neck and spine by providing the support your head and neck needs to fully relax. It is medium in its softness/hardness, and is made from contoured memory foam which will mold to your head. The memory foam has superior porosity enabling proper aeration and ventilation. This allows your head to cool while you sleep. The memory foam is also hypoallergenic making it suitable for allergy sufferers. The cover is removable and easy to wash. The pillow comes in queen (27 x 16 x 4.5 inches) and king (33 x 16.5 x 5 inches). It also comes with a three year warranty.
- Cervical design provides ergonomic support
- Accommodates different sized bodies with smaller and larger side
- Cotton cover
This Tri-Core cervical pillow offers great neck and head support with its trapezoid shaped center. Each side lobe is a different size meaning the pillow can comfortably fit different sized people. Made from breathable cotton, the cover is nice and soft to touch. Measuring 24 x 16 x 3 inches, this pillow is the number 1 support pillow recommended by medical professionals and is one of the most ergonomic pillows for side sleepers. Read more about cervical pillows for proper neck alignment.
- Made from medium firmness memory foam
- Contoured design for best neck support
- Cover uses bamboo blend for extra softness and comfort
This is one of the best therapeutic pillows for side sleepers. Made from luxurious memory foam, this pillow is rated medium for softness/hardness. This means it’s both comfortable and supportive of your neck. The moldable memory foam casing is made from 40% eco-friendly and biodegradable bamboo. By offering premium neck and head support, you won’t wake up sore in the morning. Beneficial to allergy sufferers, the pillow reduces dust and contaminants. The removable cover is easy to wash in any washing machine. It measures 17.7 x 3.9 x 11.8 inches.
- Made from natural Talalay latex
- Available in standard, queen and king sizes
- Allergen resistant
- Available in different heights and levels of support
This latex pillow is a best firm pillow for neck pain due to its firm density. Its pin-core design and zoned technology enables your head to be cradled comfortably. In addition, the latex interior is able to conform to any movement your body makes ensuring consistent support throughout the night. The latex is also able to efficiently ventilate providing a cooling temperature. The cover is nice and soft made from a blend of polyester and bamboo. The pillow comes in standard size (9.8 x 6.3 x 2.8 inches), queen size (11.4 x 6.3 x 2.8 inches) and king size (13.8 x 6.3 x 2.8 inches).
The Beyond Down Gel Fiber Side Sleeper Pillow is made from micro denier gel fiber which provides both support and comfort. With the benefit of being highly flexible, you can adjust the pillow to suit your comfort needs while maintaining the high level of support that gel fiber provides. Suitable for allergy sufferers, the cover is 100% cotton and is easily machine washable.
- Available in four sizes
- Uses buckwheat grown in the USA
- Organic cotton cover with hidden zipper
- Comes with additional buckwheat so you can adjust the firmness
These buckwheat pillows provide an excellent level of support for your neck and head allowing you to relax and sleep easily. By adjusting the amount of buckwheat inside you can alter how firm the pillow is. The buckwheat will also adjust to the contours of your head promoting comfort. While offering support, these buckwheat pillows also cool your head due to the porosity of the interior and the ventilation it allows. These buckwheat pillows come in four sizes (15 x 21 inches, 15 x 23 inches, 15 x 26 inches and 20 x 26 inches).
Final Word: Best Pillows For Side Sleepers With Neck Pain
Considering the amount of time we spend in bed, making a small investment into a proper pillow just makes sense. The wrong pillow will not provide enough of the right support for your neck and head causing strain on the neck, shoulder and back muscles. Are you tired of waking up sore or unrefreshed in the morning? This can easily be resolved by having the right pillow. With many different types available, the best pillows for side sleepers with neck pain are memory foam, shredded memory foam, water based, buckwheat, fiber gel and latex. Ensure you pick a pillow that fits your body frame and always make sure you spend sufficient time reading the product reviews.