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Best Pillows for Neck Pain

Best Pillows for Neck Pain UK (2024)

Last updated: 31.10.2023 Reading time: 9 Min.

Do you wake up in the morning with a sore or stiff neck? 😭

Many people don't realise that a pillow can worsen or alleviate their neck pain and headaches.

Some pillows are designed to support the neck and provide superior comfort so you can start every day pain-free. 🙌

Below, we’ve listed some of the best pillows for neck support in the UK.

Let's get right to it. 🥳

best pillows for neck pain

Our top pillows for neck pain in the UK

Sleep Hero Favourite

Panda London Hybrid Bamboo Pillow

The Panda Hybrid pillow is a Sleep Hero favourite made from orthopaedic grade, adaptive CharcoCell foam.
  • CharcoCell foam & 100% bamboo cover
  • Medium-firm
  • Machine-washable cover 

Tell me more about the Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow

The Panda Hybrid Bamboo pillow is one of the best pillows we've ever tested. 

The foam is blended with activated bamboo charcoal, which regulates temperature, wicks away moisture, and neutralises odours.

We found the pillow particularly comfortable for side sleeping.

The foam gently cradles the head and supports the neck at the correct height, aligning it with the spine. 

The BambooCloud quilted cover is kind and gentle to the skin, indulgently soft and also fully washable. 

We're also very pleased to know that Panda London makes these pillows using sustainable materials and practices. 

Reasons to buy

30-night trial period 

Unmatched 10-year guarantee

One of the most comfortable pillows we've tested 

Reasons to avoid

Not adjustable 

Unsuitable for stomach sleepers 

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Best Trial Period

Emma Premium Pillow

The Emma Premium Pillow offers unrivalled adjustability to suit all sleeping positions.
  • ThermoSync foam, supportive foam & soft foam
  • UltraDry machine-washable cover
  • Adjustable layers

Tell me more about the Emma Premium Pillow

The Emma Premium Pillow offers a unique experience thanks to its multi-layered, adjustable design.

The pillow as a whole has a firm feel and high loft, making it an excellent choice for side sleepers.

However, the pillow's adaptability allows it to suit all sleeping positions by simply removing or reordering the foam layers.

The Emma Premium pillow supported the neck and cushioned the head for a comfortable sleep that alleviated any pressure. 

Another unique aspect is the thermoregulating layer and UltraDry cover, which ensure temperature regulation throughout the night.

Reasons to buy

30-night trial period 

2-year guarantee

Adjustable to all sleeping positions 

Reasons to avoid

It's difficult to remove the inner layers 

Quite pricey 

Customisable Comfort

Simba Hybrid Pillow

The Simba Hybrid Pillow is an excellent choice for those in need of adjustable support.
  • Shredded memory foam
  • Medium-firm
  • Fully adjustable 

Tell me more about the Simba Hybrid Pillow

The Simba Hybrid pillow offers comfort and support to a wide range of sleepers.

It features unique memory foam "nanocubes" that can be added and removed to best suit your preferences.

The shredded memory foam also gives the pillow a more traditional feel.  

The Simba Hybrid pillow also features astronaut-inspired temperature-regulating technology that absorbs, stores and releases heat as needed.  

The Simba Hybrid pillow cover is removable and machine-washable.

This makes it a great choice for people prone to allergies. 

Reasons to buy

Fully adjustable height and firmness

Machine-washable cover 

1-year guarantee

Reasons to avoid

Quite expensive 

No trial period 

Very Firm

Brightr Eclipse Firm Memory Foam Pillow

The Brightr Eclipse is a firm memory foam pillow designed for orthopaedic support.
  • Graphene memory foam & copper-infused polyester cover
  • Medium firm to firm 
  • Adjustable layers 

Tell me more about the Brightr Eclipse Firm Memory Foam Pillow

The Brightr Eclipse Firm Memory Foam Pillow features a unique 4-layer adjustable design.

It is an ergonomic memory foam pillow that cradles your neck and head, promoting proper alignment and reducing tension and discomfort. 

This makes it an ideal choice for side sleepers who require extra support.

Brightr uses cooling graphene memory foam, which helps regulate temperature and wicks away moisture. 

Instead of one solid chunk of memory foam, Brightr has split it into four layers that slot together like Tetris pieces to design your perfect pillow height and firmness level.

The Eclipse pillow's signature copper-infused cover provides protection against allergens and bacteria that can cause breakouts.

Reasons to buy

30-night trial period 

Ergonomic support for back & neck pain

Antimicrobial copper cover 

Reasons to avoid

Won't be suitable for people who want a soft, mouldable pillow

Luxury Option

Tempur Comfort Original Pillow

Tempur Comfort Original pillows is a fantastic choice for individuals who want a mix of support and comfort.
  • Tempur material & cotton cover
  • Medium feel & deep loft 
  • Machine-washable cover

Tell me more about the Tempur Comfort Original pillow

The Tempur Comfort Original pillow is designed with Tempur material micro cushions that provide superior comfort whilst maintaining complete pressure relief. 

The medium-feel firmness of these Tempur side sleeper pillows cushions your head and shoulders to alleviate pain and discomfort.

It's slightly firmer than the Cloud pillow, ideal for those who don't want to completely collapse into their pillow. 

The Original is the perfect choice for side sleepers because it helps to keep the head lifted and aligned with the spine while gently cocooning the head and shoulders. 

Reasons to buy

30-night trial period

3-year guarantee

Great support for side sleepers 

Reasons to avoid

Expensive 

It may be too high for back & stomach sleepers

What is neck pain?

Neck pain can have a variety of causes, including stress and sitting or sleeping positions.

As our lives have become more stagnant with office jobs and technology use, neck pain is on the rise [1]. 💻

More and more young people are being affected by these aches and pains.

man sitting at computer
The rise of computer use has led to an increase in bad posture.

It is important to note that a new neck support pillow won’t cure neck pain or headaches if there are other causes.

You should seek medical advice from a doctor or chiropractor if you are suffering from recurring neck problems.

While a good pillow can’t necessarily cure chronic neck pain, a bad pillow or mattress can aggravate it. 💢

Studies [2] show that pillows can cause discomfort and disrupt sleep.

When you get less sleep, your body has less time to heal.

If your neck isn’t supported, you will strain the area and put your spine and muscles under additional pressure. 😖

Men with back and neck pain
A bad pillow and mattress can lead to chronic neck and back pain.

Just think about how many hours you sleep every day.

When your mattress is too firm or too soft, it causes poor posture.

Similarly, pillows that are of the wrong height or firmness lead to your head and spine not being aligned. 😨

Neck pain usually radiates from the cervical spine (the spinal area just below your head).

With the amount of time we spend sleeping every day, it’s no surprise that the wrong pillow can majorly impact our necks.

If you often wake up with neck pain, it’s likely that your neck pillow isn’t giving you the support you need. 👎

Is back pain linked to bad pillows or mattresses?

Just as neck pain can be caused by the wrong pillow or mattress, it can also worsen back pain.

Your body needs to be properly supported as you sleep. 🛌

spinal alignment graphic
A suitable pillow and mattress encourage optimal spinal and neck alignment.

Otherwise, your poor posture is reinforced for hours every night.

Incorrect posture can lead to muscle strains and incorrect spinal alignment.

Bad posture will leave you feeling sore and less rested every time you sleep. 😫

How can the best pillows for neck pain help?

Just as the right pillow materials and qualities can make neck pain practically disappear, the wrong ones can worsen everything just as easily. 👎

If you have been suffering from neck soreness, you cannot underestimate the importance of finding a neck pillow that works for you.

Bear in mind that side sleepers will need a different pillow to back or front sleepers. 😴

Side sleepers

Side sleepers with firmer mattresses tend to sleep best with higher loft and firm pillows.

A taller pillow compensates for the minimal sinkage of a firm mattress and prevents the shoulders from being squashed.

People with broader shoulders also often need higher loft pillows to align their spine. 💪

Those with softer mattresses that allow their shoulders to sink in should go for lower loft pillows.

Side sleeper graphic
Side sleepers need a high and firm pillow.

Side sleeping creates a bigger space between the head and shoulders, so you should make sure the pillow fills this empty space. 💞

The average person sleeps on their side 50% of the time.

The Emma Original Pillow is an ideal side sleeper pillow for those that need extra elevation to stay aligned.

BUY EMMA PILLOW£ 59.25

Back sleepers

Back sleepers are fairly lucky and can get away with pretty much any pillow, although a medium-loft pillow is usually preferred.

Back sleeper pillow graphic
Back sleepers need a medium pillow.

You just need to make sure your head is in the same position as it would be if you were standing upright.

A pillow that follows the natural curve of the neck whilst providing support can improve spinal alignment and reduce shoulder pain. 🎉

Back sleepers can also look at secure neck support pillows such as a cervical pillow or a contour memory foam pillow.

The Tempur Original Queen pillow is a great option as it's shaped to follow the back of the neck with pressure-relieving memory foam.

BUY TEMPUR ORIGINAL£ 1,169

Stomach sleepers

A lower loft and soft pillow are usually best for stomach sleeping.

Stomach sleeper pillow graphic
Stomach sleepers need a soft and low pillow.

This type of pillow will prevent your head from being lifted out of alignment with your spine. 😲

A thin pillow that keeps the neck straight can provide pain relief and improve sleep quality.

For instance, the Tempur Ombracio pillow is designed specifically for the stomach sleep style.

BUY OMBRACIO PILLOW£ 179

tempur ombracio pillow graphic
The Tempur Ombracio pillow is the perfect height and shape for stomach sleepers.

Alternatively, an adjustable pillow works well for people who rest on their front or frequently change sleeping positions. 🌟

Our favourite adjustable pillows:

Why you need to think about which pillow you choose

Always consider your sleeping position (even if you don’t really stick to one in particular) when choosing a pillow. 🤔

Your mattress firmness will also affect which pillow is best, with higher loft pillows better suiting firmer mattresses.

How to choose a pillow:

Which pillow you need depends on your individual requirements. You can find the perfect pillow for your sleeping position only if you have a suitable mattress.

If the mattress is softer, you should use a lower pillow; if the mattress is firmer, the pillow should be higher.

Walter Braun

Mattress Expert

The best pillows for neck pain (and headaches) keep your head in perfect alignment with your spine and shoulders. 👍

A supportive pillow will stop your head from falling too low or too high.

Pillow alignment graphic
A pillow should be the appropriate height to align your neck and spine.

It helps prevents neck cricks and soreness and this can also reduce headaches. 💆

Ergonomic pillows for neck support tend to offer a firmer feel and are shaped to fit the neck without adding extra pressure to it.

They allow sleepers to get a better night's rest and stop you from being disturbed by pain.

Ergonomic neck support pillows also help relieve pressure and prevent neck, shoulder, and spine problems from worsening over time. ⏰

Person laying on ergonomic pillow
Ergonomic pillows support the neck.

Not everyone enjoys ergonomic pillows, though, since they can be pretty deep and may push the upper spine out of alignment.

You might not be able to completely rid yourself of neck pain, depending on what’s causing it.

But the right pillow will make a world of difference to your sleep and your neck pain.🌏

How to choose a pillow for neck pain and headaches

The right pillow should keep you in the same position as if you were standing upright with excellent posture. 💂

Here's a short checklist to help you find the best pillow for your neck pain and headaches:

  • Pillow height
  • Pillow firmness
  • Sleeping position
  • Mattress firmness
  • Your size and build
  • Pillow feel and preference
  • Breathability (especially for warm sleepers)

You can use this list to quickly check if a pillow will help alleviate your neck pain or headaches. 💆

Upper spinal alignment
The correct pillow prevents the neck from bending.

The ideal pillow for total support will change dramatically depending on your preferences, mattress, and sleeping position.

If you don’t know how you sleep or what loft and firmness you need, you can always try out an adjustable pillow.

These allow you to play with different pillow heights so you can find one you love.😻

The Simba Hybrid Pillow is a super comfortable and adjustable option with removable nanocubes.

BUY SIMBA PILLOW£ 87.20

Simba Hybrid pillow nanocubes

Woman sleeping on side on Simba Hybrid pillow

Many of our best pillows for neck pain offer trial periods where you can test them out.

The Kally Adjustable pillow comes with a 14-night trial and 4 adjustable layers to provide the support and comfort you desire. 👏

Different pillow materials

Pillows come in a variety of materials that may suit your needs.

But there are pros and cons to each.

types of pillows
Different pillows have different benefits.

We discuss them all below. 👇

Memory foam pillows

Memory foam is one of the most popular choices for those searching for the best pillows for neck pain in the UK.

The material feels soft to the touch.

But memory foam also has a contouring effect and is firmer than traditional pillows.

This allows it to support the head and neck in the right position.

memory foam pillows
Memory foam pillows are designed for support.

It also offers a warmer sleep, great for those who run a little cold but not so good for those who often wake up sweating. 🔥

If you want a pillow that is supportive and soft, try the Panda London Memory Foam Bamboo Pillow. 🐼

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BUY PANDA PILLOW

Feather & down pillows

It can be hard to beat the plushness of a traditional feather and down pillow. 🦆

These don’t always offer great neck support because they are so soft.

If you want this type of pillow, it’s best to check its firmness level first. There are some on the market specifically designed to offer a firmer feel and greater support.

The Hypnos Feather and Down Pillow has a high loft and firm feel, most suitable for side and back sleepers.

BUY HYPNOS FEATHER PILLOW£ 69.95

Microfibre pillows

Microfibre pillows tend to be easier to clean and are less likely to cause allergy issues. 🤧

You can find microfibre pillows with a variety of lofts and firmness levels, so it should be simple to find one that works for you.

Plus, microfibre pillows tend to be much more affordable than memory foam or down and feather pillows. 🤑

Woman hugging a pillow
The best pillows are comfortable and suit your budget.

Latex pillows

Environmentally-friendly options, like Tencel or latex pillows, are becoming more popular too.

Tencel offers sleepers great support and comfort.

Plus, it’s 100% biodegradable and doesn’t require high-energy manufacturing. 🌳

All of this makes Tencel an excellent choice for those who are trying to be more eco-friendly.

pros and cons of latex pillows

Latex is one of the most durable and popular pillow materials around. 💪

Latex pillows are ideal for sleepers who like memory foam pillows, but want the initial feeling to be softer.

Additionally, latex is naturally hypoallergenic and anti-fungal.

The Relyon Superior Comfort Latex Pillow helps reduce headaches with great neck support and its anti-allergenic design.

BUY RELYON LATEX PILLOW£ 114.95

Pillow accessories

We highly recommend choosing a suitable pillowcase for your neck pillow.

A pillowcase with a bamboo or cotton cover is an excellent choice, particularly for a pillow made with polyurethane foam.

Woman with sleep accessories
The bedding you choose can also contribute to your overall sleep wellness.

An additional pillow protector can also improve pillow durability for long-lasting sleep wellness. 😁

You should also make sure the pillowcase is suitable for your neck pillow.

Whilst a regular pillowcase will fit most standard pillows, a cervical support or contour pillow may require a specific size of pillowcase.

Take a look at our favourites pillowcases and protectors below:

What is the best pillow for neck pain?

The right neck support pillow can’t magically make your pain disappear.

But it can help. 💗

If you are waking up most mornings with shoulder, neck, or back pain, you may need to change your pillow.

Before you buy yours, make sure you consider your sleeping position and preferred pillow material.

This will help you choose a pillow that’s extra comfy and supportive.

Frequently asked questions

Katharyn profile pic

Katharyn Duffy

Content Writer

Katharyn is a research pro with a BA in English and over 4 years of experience writing health and well-being content. She uses her understanding of sleep and its importance to cut through the nonsense and provide honest information about various sleep products and topics.

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