Waking up in the morning with neck pain is an awful way to start the day. And we’ve all been there.
Fortunately, it’s a reasonably easy problem to solve. It can be as easy as ensuring you have the right, comfortable pillow. The level of support you have plays a big role in your joint and muscle health. Dealing with neck pain can also help ease other discomfort, like back pain or shoulder pain.
Whether you’re a stomach sleeper, a side sleeper or a back sleeper, then there is a pillow for you. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep!
That’s why I put together this buying guide on the best pillows available for neck pain, so you can start dealing with yours straight away.
If you don’t have a lot of time, I’ve also put together a summary of the pillow reviews in this article, so you can find what you need quickly. My personal favourite is the Panda pillow
Best Pillows For Neck Pain UK
- Panda Bamboo Pillow – Memory Foam – Best Value & Dozy Owl’s Top Choice of Neck Pain Pillow
- Latex Neck Pain Pillow – Latex – Very Plump Lots Of Support
- Budget Contour Pillow – Memory Foam – Extra Neck Support
- Organic Queen Size – Shredded Memory Foam – Extra Wide
- Buckwheat Pillow – Buckwheat – Organic Filling
Top Choice – Panda Bamboo Memory Foam Pillow
Brand: Panda Life Filling: Memory Foam Firmness: Medium
- 30-Day Trial
- 10-Year Guarantee
- Breathable Bamboo Cover
- Comfy for Back And Side Sleepers
While the Panda pillow wasn’t strictly designed with pain relief in mind, it’s made out of super comfortable memory foam. This makes it both a great support pillow and comfort pillow, and a great solution for neck pain.
The cover of the pillow is made out of bamboo, which is a breathable, cool fabric. This’ll stop you from getting too hot and sweaty, which will minimise how much you roll around in your sleep. If you sleep lying still, you’ll relax better and avoid getting a stiff neck. The bamboo cover is also machine washable, so it’ll stay fresh!
The best thing about this pillow is the fact that it comes with a whopping 10-year guarantee! Generally, pillows will last about one or two years, so to have one that is guaranteed for 10 is amazing!
Panda Life as a company are also environmentally conscious and donate some of their profits to preserving nature sanctuaries around the world. So if you’re looking for a high-quality pillow that does its part for the environment, then this is the pillow for you!
2. Best Pillow For Neck Pain Side Sleeper – Latex Neck Pain Pillow
Brand: Dunlopillo Filler: Latex Firmness: Firm
- 100% Natural Latex
- Washable Polyester Cover
- 5-year guarantee
Latex is another great choice for neck pain. It’s a little bouncier than memory foam, which makes a latex pillow a great option for a neck support pillow.
As a material, latex is completely natural and resilient. Dunlopillo have a 5-year guarantee for this pillow, which means you’re getting an excellent pillow that will last.
The reason this is a great pillow for side sleepers in particular, is because it’s so plump. It means that your neck and head will be at just the right height for a comfortable sleep. People who favour other sleeping positions might not like this pillow as much though, since it’s higher than most.
3. Best Budget Neck Pain Pillow – Snug Contour Pillow With Coolmax
Brand: Snug Style: Contour Filling:Memory Foam
- Counter Shape Cradles Head
- Coolmax Cover Included
This pillow is similar to the Tempur contour pillow but it’s much more affordable.
The contoured shape cradles your head, which takes all the weight off your neck and allows it to fully relax.
They can be really comfortable but a lot of people struggle to get used to their unique shape. They’re quite different to your standard pillow!
Another potential downside to the contoured shape is that it means they don’t fit into standard pillowcases. This can be annoying since you’ll need to buy new ones.
This might not be a pain for you but it’s something to consider before committing.
If you can deal with all this, then the Snug Contour pillow is one of the best contoured pillows you can get for neck pain.
Plus, it comes with a Coolmax cover, which helps keep your head cool through the night. Less tossing and turning means less neck pain.
4. Best Memory Foam Neck Pain Pillow – Bamboo Organic Queen Size Neck Pillow
Brand: The Bamboo Pillow Style: Regular Filling:Shredded memory foam.
- Breathable Bamboo Cover
- Softer Than Normal Memory Foam
This is a really nice, large-sized pillow, packed into a super-soft bamboo cover. As well as being comfortable to sleep on, bamboo is hypoallergenic, which makes it an excellent option for allergy sufferers. No sniffing or coughing because of those pesky dust mites any more!
This also isn’t like other memory foam pillows I’ve seen. The reason it’s such a soft pillow is because the memory foam inside is shredded, which makes the pillow a bit more pliable. However, the downside to shredded memory foam is that it doesn’t spring back into shape very well after you’ve slept on it. You need to re-plump it before you go to sleep.
While the large size is comfortable to sleep on, it means that this pillow won’t fit inside a standard pillowcase – it comes with one when you buy the pillow but if you want a different colour or style, you’ll need to buy an oversized pillow case.
As far as neck pain goes, this isn’t the best pillow out there but it will do the job for mild neck pain, since it’s softer than the other pillows on this list.
Will it help with neck pain?
5. Top Organic Choice – Buckwheat Pillow
Brand: Brow Farm Style: Regular Filling:Buckwheat
- Organic Filling
- Cotton Case
Stick with me here, I’ll start making sense shortly!
Buckwheat husks are a byproduct of farming buckwheat and when they are triple-cleaned, like these ones, they provide phenomenal support as pillow filling. They are small enough that they feel super comfortable when you lie on them and they mould perfectly to your head.
Brow Farm also grow their own buckwheat husks right here in the UK!
Buckwheat pillows tend to be very heavy and when you move around on them, they make a bit of noise. However, that’s a fairly small price to pay for how great they are.
This is a completely natural and organic pillow, that provides great support and comfort. A great option if you’re environmentally conscious!
What Causes Morning Neck Pain?
Experiencing neck pain when you wake up in the morning is usually caused by your pillow, which is why it’s so important to have the right pillow! However, there could be other factors at play, so if you’re experiencing pain like this, it’s important that you see your doctor for advice.
If your pillow is causing your problems, then it’s because your pillow isn’t giving you enough support. When this happens, your head doesn’t stay in place and droops. Drooping puts a great deal of strain and stress on your neck and shoulders, which leads to neck pain.
Have a look at this diagram to see what I mean:
But what causes the pillow to do that?
It’s normally one of two things:
1. Your pillow is too old
Old pillows have gone through a lot! Countless nights of being squashed down by your head will leave them flat, lifeless and in need of retirement.
Pillows normally need to be replaced every 1-2 years, so if the pillows on your bed are older than that, then it’s time for a new pillow!
2. Wrong Filling
‘But my pillows aren’t old!’ I hear you cry.
This is where it’s important to know a bit about the different types of pillow you can get. As well as having a pillow that isn’t too old, you need to make sure you have the right type of pillow for your sleeping position and body.
If you have a too-soft pillow, then it won’t provide any support. If you have a too-tall pillow, lying on it will cause your neck to twist and make you uncomfortable.
You also need to have the right filling inside your pillow.
The Best Pillow Filling To Help With Neck Pain
There’s really only one filling that’s going to sort out neck pain and that’s memory foam.
The reason for this is because memory foam softens when you place your head on it, allowing you to sink into it more comfortably. Your head gets perfectly cradled and your neck stays in perfect alignment.
But a great alternative to memory foam is a latex pillow. Latex is similar to memory foam but a little firmer and plumper. It also tends to be more expensive, but some people prefer it.
If you don’t fancy memory foam or latex, you can also get synthetic pillows but they aren’t really the best for neck pain. They tend to be a softer pillow which, like I explained earlier, isn’t good for dealing with neck pain. However, you do get some high-quality synthetic pillows that are medium firm and plump.
DO I NEED A PILLOWCASE FOR MY CONTOUR PILLOW?
Nope! Both of the pillows I’ve recommended here come with removable, machine washable covers that zip open and closed. This means you can wash them just like the rest of your laundry – nice and easy!
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO TO STOP WAKING UP WITH NECK PAIN?
There are a couple of things you can do to minimise your chances of waking up with neck pain.
Before you sleep each night, adjust your pillows to stop them from bunching up against the end of the bed. If they’re bunched up and squished, then your neck will bend uncomfortably, leading to – you guessed it – neck pain. Just make sure that they’re lying flat when you go to bed.
HOW MANY PILLOWS IS THE RIGHT NUMBER OF PILLOWS?
It really depends on the type of pillows you have and how big you are. Usually, I would say that just using one single memory foam pillow will do the job.
If you find that this isn’t enough, then try putting an ordinary pillow underneath your memory foam one.
If you’re a side sleeper with broad shoulders, you might find that you need a couple of pillows. This is because your head will droop without enough pillows, so you need to keep your neck aligned.