Best Pillow for Neck Pain

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Are you tired of tossing and turning all night, constantly battling that stubborn neck pain? Well, it’s time to bid farewell to those sleepless nights and welcome a world of comfort and relief. In this article, I’m diving headfirst into the realm of neck pain solutions, specifically focusing on one crucial element – pillows!

Yes, you heard it right. The right pillow can be your secret weapon in the fight against neck pain.

So, prepare to learn about the best of the best when it comes to neck pain pillows in the UK. All of this will help you obtain the best sleep ever. Get ready to say goodbye to pain and welcome to peaceful nights as I reveal the leading candidates for best pillows for neck pain.

Does my pillow really matter?

Not only can ongoing neck pain make you uncomfortable and miserable throughout the day, but it can also affect your sleep. Of course, a decent night’s sleep is vital for many reasons, so inadequate sleep will naturally bring its own host of problems.

In some cases of persistent neck pain, shockingly, it may even be your pillow that is the main culprit. Why? Because if you have an incorrect pillow setup then it can cause excess pressure on your neck, whic leads to pain. Prolonged periods of being in this condition (ie. when you sleep), can cause the pressure to build up and things will only get worsen.

Back pain may also be linked to a similar condition caused by your mattress rather than your pillow – find out more here about the best mattress for back pain.

So, why compromise? Invest in a pillow that’s got your back (or should I say got your neck?). It’s time to bid farewell to the discomfort that haunts your days and disrupts your precious sleep. Get ready to embrace a pain-free, sleep-filled paradise.

What sort of pillow do I need?

In order to alleviate or prevent neck pain, your pillow will need to have a few specific characteristics:

  1. First, the pillow needs to be firm or hard enough that it can support the head at the correct, healthy angle.
  2. At the same time, the pillow needs to be soft enough that it can reduce pressure on sensitive pressure points.
  3. This is where memory foam comes into play and why it is a good material for the construction of pillows.

Which leads nicely onto my most recommended pillows for neck pain sufferers:

Overview: Best UK Pillows for Neck Pain


1. Eve Memory Foam Pillow

EVE sleep memory foam pillowWe’re tried and tested the memory foam pillow from EVE, and we’re more than impressed with it. For the price, it seems relatively simple in construction. However it seems to be one of those “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it situations”

There’s no fancy technology here, just a memory foam pillow with small holes to allow air flow, wrapped in a washable hypoallergenic cover.

Buying an EVE? Make sure to check out my EVE Discount Codes page first and save some easy money!

Considering it’s not 100% customisable like some other memory foam pillows, we found that it is firm enough to correctly support the neck and spine, while at the same time being soft enough to reduce pressure around the neck area. It costs £59, which is the mid-range price, but we think it’s worth more. If you use a voucher code you’ll be able to get it even cheaper. What’s more, the EVE pillow comes with a 14-night trial period. If you don’t like it, just send it back for a full refund. Find out what we thought about it here.

2. Emma Pillow (standard)

Emma memory foam pillowAnother pillow that we have tried and tested, the Emma pillow is also good for those who suffer from neck pain. It’s nice and soft, which provides immediate relief to your neck as soon as you place your head on the pillow. The three layers of foam that make up the construction of the Emma pillow allow for a good level of support. So like the EVE memory foam pillow, the Emma pillow is the full package.

Priced at £49, the Emma pillow is a little bit cheaper than the EVE pillow.

For the money you get a lot more pillow-technology, but one thing that we found with the EVE pillow is that a lot of this is unnecessary. After the correct amount of support, the next most important thing from a pillow is the cooling ability. The Emma pillow has this nailed down with it’s middle layer of ‘cold regulating foam’.  If you suffer from neck pain, this is a good bet if for any reason you don’t want the EVE pillow.

3. AmazonBasics Memory Foam Pillow

AmazonBasics Memory Foam PillowWhen it comes to mattresses and pillows, many people wouldn’t even consider that Amazon had a roll to play. However, a lot of their bed products are very highly rated. The AmazonBasics memory foam pillow is no exception. In fact, on their website it is rated more highly than the Emma pillow. The flagship feature of the Amazon memory foam pillow is the fact that it’s made with something known as ‘ice silk’. In terms of moisture content, apparently it is a good match with the natural moisture of out skin.

The result of that is that is that the pillow appears silky, smooth, cool, breathable, antistatic and anti-ultraviolet.

Like the EVE pillow it has a cover that is easily removable to clean. If you’re looking for longevity then this is an important feature. And another thing that it has in common with the EVE pillow, is the fact that it’s nice and simple – just a lump of decent memory foam in a quality, washable cover. The price is enough to sweeten the deal even further. It’s only around £30 which is considerably cheaper than most other memory foam pillows. And although it doesn’t come with any home trials as such, because it is an Amazon product it’s fairly easy to return. It’s a good memory foam pillow for the price, so if you’ve not got a large budget then it’s well worth a punt.

4. Nectar Pillow

Nectar PillowWe can’t talk about memory foam mattresses or pillows without mentioning Nectar. Their mattress is one of the best-selling memory foam mattresses available in the UK. The Nectar pillow (see my review here) is also  apparently flying off the shelves. Probably the best thing going for it is the fact that it is customisable.

The Nectar pillow was designed in such a way that you can add or remove foam from one of the layers as required to get the right level of support and comfort for your individual needs. This is achieved by filling one of the layers with small pieces of memory foam instead of one large piece. The pieces are the optimum size as well. They are small enough that you can’t feel each individual piece digging into your head throughout the night. At the same time, they are large enough to work together to provide support. Like all good memory foam pillows, the Nectar pillow has cooling technology. Pricewise it’s pretty solid as well. For £70 you get two pillows, so that works out at just £35 each. If you have a Nectar memory foam mattress and are happy with it then the Nectar pillow is a no-brainer

5. Simba Hybrid Pillow

Simba Hybrid PillowThe Simba Hybrid is another pillow that contains many smaller pieces of foam in one of the layers. These pieces can be added and removed to provide you with your desired amount of support and comfort. At £99, it’s almost three times more expensive than the Nectar pillow. This is because the small pieces of removable foam within are about the only similarity between the two pillows.

The Simba Hybrid pillow, like the Simba Hybrid Original mattress, went through a lot of design and testing before release, so pretty much every avenue has been visited when it comes to creating a decent pillow. Everything has been considered – it even comes with a little bag to store your unwanted foam pieces should you need them at a later date.

In addition to the 100% customisable layer, the Simba Hybrid pillow also has a dedicated cooling layer at the top. Underneath this – where the pillow can be customised – is a cooling vent. The bottom layer features a soft yet durable fill which allows the pillow to retain it’s shape. Although one of the more expensive options for memory foam pillows, the Simba Hybrid contains years of product research and intuition – which in our eyes makes it well-worth the extra cash outlay.#

Where to start when looking for a pillow to reduce neck pain

I’ve learned over the years that most folks don’t give their pillow much thought, other than desiring immediate comfort from something nice and squishy. But here’s the kicker: your pillow might be a sneaky culprit contributing to your neck pain.

Choosing the right pillow is key, but navigating through the marketing gimmicks can be downright perplexing.

To give you a head start, I’ve put together a list of the most crucial factors.

  • Depth – Let’s kick things off with what we Brits call the pillow depth (or loft as the Americans call it). This determines the angle of your head in relation to your spine. Opting for a pillow that’s too high or too low can force your neck into an unnatural position, leading to strain and discomfort over time. So, listen to the sleep experts—they recommend choosing a pillow depth that keeps your head and neck aligned with your spine. And remember to consider the breadth of your shoulders and the size of your head when hunting for that ideal pillow. If you’re unsure about the best depth for you, why not consider a pillow with adjustable options?
  • Support – A pillow needs to not only be the right height under your head, but it should also provide adequate support for your neck. Enter the scene: cervical pillows. These beauties contour to the natural shape of your neck, ensuring it receives the support it craves. Side and back sleepers, in particular, find solace in these wonder pillows.
  • Firmness level is another crucial factor to ponder. It determines where your head ultimately rests, so it’s worth giving this aspect some serious thought. The right pillow firmness depends on the weight of your head, the height of the pillow, your preferred sleep position, and the firmness of your mattress. Pillows that are too firm may create irritating pressure points, especially for side sleepers (think sore ears). On the flip side, pillows that are too soft may sag under your head and fail to provide adequate support. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.
  • Last but not least, there’s pressure relief. A top-notch pillow offers relief by easing the strain on your neck and contouring to reduce those pesky pressure points. To truly experience the wonders of pressure relief, choose a pillow that matches the appropriate shape and size for your preferred sleeping position. It’s also crucial to select the right level of firmness to alleviate pressure at those contact points.

How can a pillow reduce neck pain?

To reduce neck pain, it’s not just about finding the right pillow frankly; lifestyle changes can also make a significant difference.

  • Pay attention to your posture, ensuring you maintain proper alignment throughout the day. Take regular breaks to stretch and move around, as staying sedentary for long periods can worsen neck pain.
  • Ditch those shoulder bags that put strain on your neck and opt for backpacks or cross-body bags instead. And when you’re working at the computer, avoid slouching and make sure your workstation is ergonomically set up.
  • Don’t forget about your mattress either. The choice of mattress plays a role in your body’s overall position. Plusher mattresses allow your body to sink down further, meaning you’ll need a lower-loft pillow to maintain proper alignment of your neck and spine. On the other hand, if you have a firmer mattress, you’ll need a higher pillow to provide adequate support.
  • Doing physical therapy can also be beneficial for relieving neck pain. Incorporate exercises into your daily routine that target the neck, shoulder, and upper back muscles. These exercises can help relax tense muscles and alleviate strain. It’s always a good idea to consult with a certified massage therapist or chiropractor to receive professional guidance and support. Before starting any new treatment or exercise regimen, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s suitable for your specific condition.

When you’re in need of immediate relief, consider using ice or heat therapy. Applying a cold compress or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel can help reduce inflammation and numb the area. Alternatively, a warm compress or taking a warm shower can provide soothing relief. While these methods may not solve your underlying neck problems, they can offer temporary comfort and alleviate some of the discomfort.

Remember, it’s essential to listen to your body and seek professional advice if you’re experiencing persistent or severe neck pain. By combining the right pillow, lifestyle adjustments, and appropriate therapies, you can work towards reducing neck pain and promoting better neck and spinal health.

So what actually *is* neck pain?

The neck, oh the neck! It carries the weight of your noggin, and it’s no surprise that this delicate part of your body is prone to injury.

According to the government, neck pain affects millions of us, and are becoming more common. Can you believe it? Around 8% of all Brits suffer from neck pain each year. While some lucky souls find relief on their own, for others, it becomes a chronic nightmare that seriously impacts their quality of life.

Neck pain can have various causes. It might result from an injury or a pesky chronic condition like arthritis. Heck, it can even be triggered by your everyday habits, like slouching or spending endless hours hunched over a computer screen. Symptoms can vary, but if you’re dealing with neck pain, chances are you’ll experience:

  • Neck pain that worsens during repetitive tasks or long bouts of sitting up straight.
  • Feeling like your range of motion is on lockdown.
  • Unwelcome headaches making an appearance.
  • Muscle spasms, like a chaotic dance party happening in your neck.
  • And let’s not forget about the cherry on top: poor sleep quality. Talk about adding insult to injury!

Now, if your pain is off-the-charts severe or you’re experiencing additional symptoms that make you go, “Hmm, something’s not right,” it’s probably wise to pay a visit to the doctor or call NHS Direct. They can help rule out any underlying conditions causing your neck pain. I am not a medical professional either.

One thing to note is that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight are said to have a positive impact on chronic neck pain.

And the NHS believes that neck pain often is linked with high stress levels and obesity. So, it’s worth keeping an eye on those stress levels and maybe even shedding a few KG to give your neck some much-needed relief. But that’s not for this article.

Alleviating Neck Pain: Tips

If you’re grappling with that persistent neck pain, I’ve got some straightforward advice for you.

Sleeping on your stomach is an absolute no-no. It’s a recipe for disaster, wreaking havoc on your neck. Your head gets all wonky, and your spine twists and turns, exerting undue pressure on your poor neck. Ouch!

But fear not, if you insist on stomach sleeping, opt for a pillow with a low pillow depth or thickness. Trust me, it can help mitigate the damage and prevent your neck from wailing in agony.

Now, let’s delve into the best sleeping positions to conquer that pesky neck pain.

In a nutshell:

Back or side sleeping is the way forward and arguably the easiest way to fix neck pain.

Be aware side sleepers! Your goal is to maintain alignment – keep your head in line with your spine. Your pillow should match the distance between your ears and the edge of your shoulders.
Simple, right?

And for those with broader shoulders, a pillow with a higher depth or thickness is the key to achieving that perfect alignment. Oh, and here’s a little secret: cervical pillows are a side sleeper’s best buddy. They boast an elevated area under the neck to provide the support you crave.

What about back sleepers?

Now, let’s shift our focus to back sleepers. You folks need a pillow with a medium/average depth that raises your head just enough to align it with your neck. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the twist (sorry): as I’ve found in testing, many pillows out there fail to support the higher curve of your neck.

It’s as if they’re in a different realm, oblivious to your needs. So, here’s a top tip for you: grab a small rounded pillow and position it beneath your neck alongside your main pillow. Double the support, double the comfort!

Remember, finding that ideal pillow and adjusting your sleeping position can work wonders for your neck pain. However, let’s keep it real—there’s no magical solution. If the pain persists or worsens, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Rest easy, my friend, and may you discover that dream mattress and pillow combo that provides you with blissful slumber and relief from any neck discomfort.

More from WhatMattress...

So… which neck pillow is actually the best?

There is a plethora of different pillows available out there, which are marketed as being able to prevent or alleviate neck pain. From our experience, the ones that are most effective at this are – at least in part  – made from memory foam.

For this reason, all five pillows are made of memory foam. If you’re on a really tight budget then you may not find the above recommendations useful. In our opinion and with our experience with neck pain, it is far better to spend more on a pillow that you know will support your neck properly than to risk buying cheaper pillows made from sub-standard materials.

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Was this article helpful?

Can a pillow get rid of my neck pain?

Yes, in many cases the pillow you use will alleviate neck pain. The majority of neck pain is caused by use of the incorrect pillow, so a good pillow may get rid of it completely.

What type of pillow is best for neck pain?

When it comes to finding the best pillow for neck pain, look for one that offers proper support and alignment for your neck and spine. Memory foam pillows are often recommended as they contour to your neck's shape and provide optimal support.

How many pillows do I need if I suffer from neck pain?

People sleep differently and therefore require a different pillow setup. In my opinion if your pillow is striking the correct balance between offering support and relieving pressure then you will only need the one, and that's generally what others recommend too.

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Edit History:

Our experts continually monitor the mattress & sleep tech space, and we update our reviews & articles when new information becomes available.

  • 15th May 2023
    Current Article - By Carrie Taylor
  • 21st May 2023
    Checked & Reviewed - By Morag Park, Ph.D.
  • 21st December 2020
    Copy Edited - By Anthony Maxwell
  • 8th April 2024
    Reviewed - By Anthony Maxwell

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