On average, we spend a third of our lives sleeping or attempting to sleep. That is the equivalent of 33 years assuming a lifespan of the golden 100! One of the most common sleeping woes is waking up with a sore neck. Not only is it uncomfortable and painful, but it also sets the wrong tone for your day ahead. It is thus vital that we choose the best pillows for neck pain so that we are regenerated for the new day ahead.
Why does my neck hurt when I wake up?
If your neck feels sore and strained after what was supposed to be a restful night, it is likely you’re using the wrong pillow for your sleeping position. The wrong pillow choice is one of the top causes for neck pain and to ensure you rid yourself of unnecessary discomfort, you need to determine your sleeping position. The best pillow for neck pain will be able to do its job in supporting you in your go-to sleeping position.
Determine your sleeping position
The first step to finding the best pillow for neck pain is to determine what kind of sleeper you are. Which sleeping position in the above image best represents you? There are 3 main types of sleepers namely:
It is possible that during sleep, we are so unconscious that we don’t know how we end up on the opposite end of the bed. One easy way to identify your sleeping position is to look at your bed hair. If it looks flatter on one side, you’re likely to be a side sleeper. Likewise, if it’s flatter on the back, you could be a back sleeper. If you “woke up like this”, it’s possible that you are a stomach sleeper given that you technically do not sleep on your head at all!
How to choose the right pillow for neck pain
Once you have identified your sleeping position, you can refer to these key parameters that you should consider when choosing the best pillow for neck pain:
- Firmness: Ensure that the pillow is firm enough such that your head does not sink in too deeply when you lay on it. A pillow that is too soft can be a common cause of neck pain!
- Filling Material: Depending on whether you’re a hot sleeper, ensure to choose a pillow with a cooler fill. For example, for hot sleepers, down pillows might be more suitable than polyester ones.
Best pillows for side sleepers
Accounting for a whopping 74% of the population, a side sleeper is someone who sleeps on either the left or right of their body. One of the top causes for neck pain amongst side sleepers is the inadequate loft they get from their head pillows. Side sleepers require a higher loft to ensure that their neck does not sink downwards to cause strain.
1. Goose Feather Pillow
While down pillows may collapse over time, it’s fluffier and can be easily shaped according to your neck and posture. Try the Goose Feather Pillow (available on White Hotel Collection) that’s hypo-allergenic, anti dust mite, antibacterial and antifungal!
The pillow has medium firmness while the air pockets between the fillings provide good ventilation. This keeps the pillow cool to sleep on for long hours. However, over time you may find feathers sticking out of the pillow and grazing your skin. A simple way to prevent this is by using a pillow protector (available on White Hotel Collection Official Store). Otherwise, the Goose Feather Pillow is suitable for all sleeping positions and is one of the best pillows for neck pain!
2. Saturn Home Pillow
Similar to down pillows, the Saturn Home pillow (available on Saturn Home) offers sufficient support to the neck, making it one of the best pillows for neck pain. Saturn Home offers this range of pillows in three different firmness levels, making it ideal for those who are looking to customize their fit. Its polyester filling makes it easier for it to retain its shape for longer. Don’t be put off by the fact that it doesn’t have that cradle dip in design, this pillow will support your neck when you sink into it.
If you’re a hugger or want additional back support, the Akemi Loft Fibre Bolster is a great way to alleviate your back from excessive stress. By having a bolster in between your legs, it keeps your pelvis in a neutral position and ensures that your hips are aligned with your pelvic area.
3. Maternity Full Body C-Shaped Pillow
During pregnancy, many mums-to-be are advised to sleep on their left to promote better blood circulation for both mother and fetus. However, sleeping in one position for an extended period of time is one of the common causes of neck pain and even a throbbing headache. Pregnancy also exaggerates spine curvature and stresses lower back muscles. This in turn affects the neck and shoulders, leading to severe cases of stiff necks.
The Maternity Full Body C-shaped Pillow (available on Receesoon Fashion) is one of the best pillows for neck pain for expecting mothers. It is able to relieve this discomfort by keeping the spine in a neutral position so you wake up feeling great and ready to take on the day! This multi-purpose pillow is specially designed to fit the body contours of pregnant women so as to provide much-needed support in the back and tummy areas. Moreover, it can be used interchangeably as a pillow or bolster for a restful night! After pregnancy, you can even use the pillow to house the little one in its cavity!
4. AKEMI Sleep Essentials 10 Holes Loft Fibre Pillow
Instead of plumage, Akemi’s Loft Fibre Pillow (available on AKEMI Official Store) contains an alternative called polyester. The artificial material does not sink and is able to support the weight of your head without comprising the neck positioning. It also has a longer lifespan than pillows filled with plumage as it is able to retain its original shape for longer.
The Akemi Loft Fibre Pillow comes in a bundle of 2 – and the extra pillow is perfect for side sleepers. It is important to keep a pillow or bolster in between the legs so that the back is relieved from excessive weight from your legs. Don’t miss out on the best pillow for neck pain from Akemi!
5. Little Bee 100% Cotton Breathable
Similar to the Akemi Loft Fibre Pillow, the Little Bee 100% Cotton Breathable Pillow (available on Alshone Home Official Store) is filled with polyester to ensure a longer lifespan. The pillows come in 3 different levels of firmness, making it easily one of the best pillows for neck pain with the “middle” firmness pillow hitting the sweet spot. With 3 neutral colours to choose from and a subtle embroidered bee design on its side, the pillow is presentable on its own although you can easily change it up with pillowcases.
Best pillows for back sleepers
6. Posture Correction Curve Memory Pillow
Cervical pillows are a great alternative to memory foam pillows if they are not to your liking. The Posture Correction Curve Memory Pillow (available on sunshinecity) brings comfort to the next level with its unique 45-degree angle design. This keeps your head and neck in the most optimal position to promote absolute relaxation and release all tension.
As one of the best pillows for neck pain, the Posture Correction Curve Memory Pillow has a short wedge extension to further provide cushioning for your neck. By keeping your spine levelled, the pillow effectively reduces unnecessary compression and muscle strains. Most importantly, it comes with a smooth velvety pillowcase available in multiple colours and protective lining that are both removable and washable!
7. SeaHorse Foam Contour Pillow
SeaHorse is one of the top mattress brands in Singapore, so it’s no surprise that they produce some of the best pillows for neck pain! The SeaHorse Foam Contour Pillow (available on Seahorse mattress) is a medium-firm, memory foam pillow that provides the ultimate pressure relief.
The cervical contour design cradles the neck to maintain proper spinal alignment and prevents neck pains. This is a highly recommended pillow for those who prefer to sleep on their sides, as it has a wavy-design with a two-way height (choose your optimal height) to keep the head and neck supported without compressing the shoulders. Additionally, this cervical pillow is wrapped in high quality breathable fabric for better temperature regulation in Singapore’s humid weather.
8. Single Comax Pillow
Another great alternative to memory foam and feather pillows are latex pillows. Latex pillows are one of the best pillows for neck pain because they seldom clump or shift while providing maximum support throughout the night.
The Single Comax Pillow (available on HelloJapan) is made of 100% natural latex and is absolutely safe for the environment. Latex pillows are advantageous because they spring back to shape once no more pressure is applied, making it a durable pillow that will not end up with hollow spots. Additionally, the Comax Natural Shoulder Pillow is designed with two extended corners that gently wrap around your neck and shoulder to provide stability and relieve pressure on the spine.
9. Dunlopillo Organic Natural Latex [Pillow] AIRFLOW ERGO
Here is another pillow to consider for your stiff necks. The Dunlopillo Organic Natural Latex Pillow Airflow Ergo (available on Dunlopillo Official Store) is a contour shaped latex pillow with a special 2-zone design to support your head, neck and shoulder and can help relieve any neck pain. Not only is it one of the best pillows for neck pains, it’s also highly breathable with a special cooling technology — a bonus in Singapore’s unforgiving heat. It’s also a hypoallergenic pillow, making it a great option for people with allergies.
We also spotted a Lavender Pincore neck pillow (available on Dunlopillo Official Store) version that gives off a soothing lavender fragrance for a calming slumber while giving your neck the support it needs after a long day.
10. Etoz Classic Gel Pillow – Gel Contour Pillow
You don’t have to use a hard memory foam pillow to counter your neck pain. This medium-soft Etoz Classic Gel Contour Pillow (available on ETOZ.SG Official Store) combines the properties of a memory foam pillow with gel particles for a heat-dissipating and cooling effect. This is one of the best pillows for neck pain as the memory foam will support your sleeping positions with its contour shaped design — the lower side is 9cm in height and the higher side is 12cm and is perfect for both back and side sleepers respectively. As a bonus, its Bamboo Charcoal pillowcase material has a deodorising ability that alleviates tension, stress and anxiety relief for restful sleep.
11. DansUnReve Pillow Natural Latex Pillow
Your children need to have good spine alignment too! Poor alignment is one of the top causes for neck pain and prevention is key! With this DansUnReve Pillow Natural Latex Pillow (available on Dansunreve Official Store), it will keep a check on their back alignment when sleeping. This cervical pillow features a slight concave design and pillow height of 8cm on one side and 6cm on the other — suitable for children’s growth and development. It also boasts a pure cotton pillow cover that’s lightweight, breathable and machine washable.
Best pillows for stomach sleepers
12. Full Wing Japan Pillow
We bet this is the oddest-looking pillow you’ve seen till date! The Full Wing Japan Pillow (available on mzu.sg) may look unconventional and slightly intimidating, but it’s no doubt one of the best pillows for neck pain. Its versatile dual thickness allows you to adjust for a higher or lower head and neck support according to your preference. The high-curve end is 135mm thick, perfect for side sleepers. Meanwhile, the low-curve end is 85mm thick and better for back sleepers to maintain proper spine alignment.
13. LINU Korea Honeynight Pillow
Using a blend of polyester and stretch fabric, the LINU Korean Honeynight Pillow (available on LINU.sg) keeps you cool and airy throughout the night – perfect for hot and sunny Singapore. Shipped directly from Korea, you do not want to miss out on the best pillow for neck pain! The pillow has also been subject to rigorous testing to ensure it is free of toxic chemicals and anti-bacterial. Despite the slightly higher price tag, this pillow might just be the right investment for you.
14. Bodyluv Addiction Pillow
The Bodyluv Addiction Pillow has taken the internet by storm thanks to its ergonomic pillow design. Touted as one of the best pillows for neck pain, the Bodyluv Addiction Pillow (available on COCOMO) is filled with eight million micro air balls to provide the perfect support you need during your sleep. A common cause for neck pain is that it is too high or too low, but this is not a cause for concern here. The pillow’s innovative micro air balls shift according to your sleeping posture, adjusting the pillow height to prevent neck aches.
When sleeping on a lousy pillow, your neck may tense up to keep your head stable, leading to neck pain. To counter this, the Bodyluv Addiction Pillow has a slight dent in the middle to maintain a natural cervical shape, allowing your neck to relax. On top of that, the sides of this cervical pillow are slightly raised to minimise the compression of your shoulders when you sleep on your side. Need we say more? The search for the best ergonomic pillow might just end here!
15. Hopor All Round Sleep Egg 3D Shape Ergonomic Pillow
If you’re someone who tosses in their sleep, this pillow might just be the best pillow for neck pain! Accommodating all sleeping positions with its ergonomic pillow design, you need not worry about staying in one position to avoid neck strains. The groove in the Hopor All Round Sleep Egg 3D Shape Ergonomic Pillow (available on hopor) functions as a cervical pillow as its micro foam balls conform to the shape of your head. The pillow material also boasts an anti-dustmite property – something you’d definitely want in a pillow!
Get your beauty sleep with the best neck pillows for neck pain in Singapore
Now that you know the common causes for neck pain, we hope this list helps you choose the best pillows for neck pain and to improve your sleep quality! Besides pillows, your mattress plays a big role in determining your sleeping posture too. Learn how to choose the perfect mattress or check out this list of the best bedsheets in Singapore for a good night’s sleep!
This article was updated on 19 May 2021. Additional research done by Esther Chan.