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Neck Pain Means It’s Time for a New Pillow

Have you ever woken up with a crick in your neck? If so, maybe you need a different kind of pillow. Today’s guest post will walk you through the different considerations you need to make when choosing the most comfortable, most supportive pillow.


If you’ve swapped out your mattress and bought a new pillow but still wake up with neck pain in the morning, you might have chosen the wrong neck support. For people with chronic back and neck pain, there are any number of options for specialty pillows that can make every morning more pleasant.

Here’s a look at some of the fundamental considerations when choosing the perfect pillow for you.

How to choose a pillow

Why Pillows Matter

The basic reason we use a pillow is to keep our heads and necks in alignment with the rest of our bodies while we sleep. However, there are a lot of complicating factors that play a role in a pillow’s efficacy. For example, if you are a side sleeper but use a pillow that is too tall, you could wake up with shoulder pain or neck stiffness. Or, if you are a back sleeper but have a completely flat pillow, you are not getting the head support you need to sleep soundly and comfortably. Any specialty pillow you consider buying should hold your head in the proper position no matter which sleeping position you take during the night.

Pillow Firmness

Pillows generally are available in a range of support levels from soft to firm and everywhere in between. The different materials they are filled with – such as down, foam, or even water – will usually dictate what type of support they offer your head. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of pillow height. An overfilled pillow can place your head and neck into an angle that will take its toll on your comfort over several hours.

Specific Sleeping Pillows

One of the ways to narrow your choices among specialty pillows is to consider your preferred position. Sleep studies indicate that most people change position about a dozen times per night, so versatility is important in a quality head support. If you are a back sleeper, you’ll want a pillow surface that’s contoured to cradle the head and support the neck. Side sleepers need a pillow that lifts the head into alignment with the shoulders. Stomach sleepers are the most challenging to fit in terms of pillows because stomach sleeping is inherently hard on your neck and back. However, there still are pillows available that offer shoulder support in addition to head support that might be a specialty pillow option for stomach sleepers.

Pillow Materials

Specialty pillows may be filled with any variety of materials, including down, memory foam, or natural materials such as buckwheat. The filling inside a pillow can even be adjustable, which is the case for air- or water-filled options. Allergies can play a role in the pillow material you choose, but really the biggest consideration is which material will support your head and neck in the manner you are seeking. Down is easily flattened. Foam is available in many different firmness levels but can hamper movement. Some pillows even feature different materials in different zones of the structure, for example, down wrapped around memory foam or contour pillows that are foam in the middle with an envelope of cooling gel to prevent overheating during the night.

There truly is a dizzying array of specialty pillows that can help you get a better night’s sleep with less neck pain in the morning. By thinking carefully about your general sleeping position, you can find a pillow configuration that’s perfect for your personal comfort.

Check Out This Hypoallergenic, Bamboo Pillow:

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