It’s a terrible feeling to wake up in the morning with neck pain. Not only does neck pain send stabbing pains down to the rest of your body, but it also leads to headaches and possible migraine. Morning neck pain can essentially ruin your entire day and make you grumpy and irritable, affecting your social and professional life.
Are you wondering “why does the back of my neck always hurt?” Well, you may not have to look much further than your own bed to find the root cause of neck pain after sleeping. In this article, we discuss remedies for neck pain while sleeping and what is the most comfortable pillow for neck pain according to a physician.
What is the Root Cause of Neck Pain after Sleeping?
When people wake up with neck pain, they’re quick to blame their mattresses. But it’s rarely the mattress’ fault — in most cases, the real cause of neck pain after sleeping is either your sleep position, your pillow, or both. Having the best neck pillow for your specific sleep position is necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Our necks are made of muscles, cartilage, vertebrae, and cervical discs. Furthermore, all of these components are a part of the spinal network. During sleep, your neck is the most vulnerable part of your body because you can get neck pain if any of these components are pinched, compressed, or injured.
The only way to ensure that you don’t suffer from neck pain is to keep your neck aligned with the rest of your body. That’s where the right pillow comes in. You need to make sure that your pillow keeps your neck aligned with your spine and hips. If your neck is too high or too low, you’ll suffer from neck pain.
To prevent neck pain, you also have to focus on the best sleeping position for upper back and neck pain. You can sleep on your back or your side in a fetal position, but you should avoid sleeping on your stomach because that leads to a high risk of neck pain. Sleeping on your stomach can twist your neck and it places undue stress on your back.
Best Pillow for Neck Pain — Top Picks 2021
Now that you understand the real cause of neck pain after sleeping, please continue reading for a detailed review of the best pillows for neck pain in 2021. These are the best cervical pillows to alleviate neck pain or prevent neck pain altogether.
Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest — Best Cervical Pillow
Contour Memory Foam Pillow By Elite Rest is the best cervical pillow on the market because of the contoured ergonomic design. This pillow is 12 inches wide and it has a variable loft height — the higher loft measures 4 inches and the lower loft measures 2.75 inches. This contoured shape is perfect for side sleepers and back sleepers because it comes with an in-built neck roll. As such, it’s a brilliant neck pillow and it comes with a highly breathable 100% cotton cover.
Elite Rest Slim Sleeper — Best Pillow for Neck Pain for Stomach Sleepers
Sleeping on your stomach is not advisable because it twists your neck pain, leads to spinal misalignment, and causes neck pain. However, some people can’t help but sleep on their stomachs. Elite Rest Slim Sleeper minimizes the risk of stomach sleep position. This is a low-loft pillow with a height of only 2.75 inches. It’s made of natural latex foam so you can rest your head on the pillow and rest assured that your head won’t sink, thus maintaining spinal alignment.
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury — Best Full Body Neck Pillow
Snuggle-Pedic Ultra-Luxury is the best full body neck pillow for combination sleepers. This pillow is made of shredded memory foam, which means you can add or remove the shredded memory foam fill to adjust the loft height according to your needs. If you’re a side sleeper, you can add more shredded memory foam and if you’re a stomach sleeper, you can remove the memory foam. Furthermore, this pillow measures 20×54 inches, making it large enough to cuddle with. If you naturally fall into the stomach sleeping position at night, you can cuddle with this pillow to correct your sleeping position.
Pancake Pillow — Best Pillow for Combination Sleepers
Shredded memory foam pillows are extremely adjustable and comfortable — but some people find them a little messy because you have to remove the shredded memory foam and then re-fluff the pillow to smoothen it out. Pancake pillow is yet another adjustable pillow for combination sleepers — but, in this case, you don’t have to add or remove the filling. Pancake pillow is a multi-layered pillow — a single pillow cover includes six narrow stackable pillow layers filled with down alternative microfiber. As such, you can add or remove layers to increase or decrease the loft height according to your needs, making it perfect for side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers. Once you achieve the perfect loft height, you can gradually also relieve your neck pain.
Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow — Best Adjustable Cervical Pillow
Royal Therapy Memory Foam Pillow is an adjustable cervical pillow made of memory foam. Most cervical pillows aren’t adjustable because that would take away from the shape. However, this queen-size memory foam pillow is such that you can remove one of the memory foam layers to adjust its loft height according to your sleep position. You can also rest your neck directly on the rounded contour. As such, it serves as a traditional cervical pillow for neck support and it also functions as an adjustable memory foam pillow. This pillow also comes with a hypoallergenic bamboo pillow cover that’s resistant to dust mites and machine washable.