Exploring the Best Pillows for Neck Support and Neck-Pain Side Sleepers

What kind of pillows should you consider when it’s neck support that you’re looking for?

There’s so much to say about sleep that sleep science is an entire field of study on its own. Yes, there are labs set up to study just how people sleep, and a lot of this research is passed down to you in the way your pillows and bed are constructed: The research ensures that you are getting the best quality sleep that your bed and pillows can possibly give you, and this in turn means that you wake up feeling happier – instead of waking up in pain and literally feeling like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, which can sometimes be taken very literally.

Memory foam for support

Memory foam offers the best type of support, especially if you are looking for extra and therapeutic support for your back or neck because of prior injury like an old, nagging sports injury or pain from having been in a car accident. Even if you don’t have any kind of neck injury or health condition to speak of, then you can still benefit from the support that memory foam offers – in fact, getting the right support for your neck now is recommended to prevent the possibility of developing problems later on in life. Memory foam conforms to your shape and individual health needs, so you can use it no matter what condition you might have.

Find out how you sleep first

Okay, first, let’s find out exactly how you sleep. This is an overly easy task for anyone who is in a relationship – or has a roommate who keeps complaining about their constant snoring: They can just ask someone how they sleep and find the answer right there. But people who sleep alone might have to go to a little more effort to find the answer.

The easiest we’d recommend is to set up your webcam to record yourself while you sleep at night. This sounds a little creepy, but if you play the video sped up you should be able to see a lot of useful things like how many times per night you turn around and exactly what kind of position you sleep in for most of the night – this information can even be useful to your doctor and they can make some recommendations based on what they see in the footage. See? It turns out that it’s useful to record yourself while you sleep, not creepy!

Why your pillows are wrong

We can tell you that the pillows that you are using right now are the wrong ones for you. Most people are using the most affordable, cheap pillows that they can find – which is usually either feathers or cotton, and both are bad for your health. Both types of these pillows tend to deflate as time goes on, and not just that but they also tend to collect dust, skin cells and all other sorts of things that you don’t want to see in your pillow – or see under a microscope for that matter, trust is.

Our real point here is the fact that these pillows don’t really offer you the support you need, which is already a great reason to switch over to memory foam pillows for what you’re currently using now. We can tell you with certainty that even if you aren’t experiencing any neck pain right now, you’re using the wrong kind of pillow for your neck. The pillows that most people are used to is both unhygienic in the long run and very, very unhealthy – but most people simply don’t realize this. 

Why you need neck support

So, you might have a neck injury and really understand the importance of neck support as it is, or you might not have a neck injury of any sort to speak of and be wondering just why this is important. Well, for starters, supporting your neck in the right and most comfortable way means that you get a comfortable night’s sleep in every night – and not just comfortable sleep, but quality sleep. You need at least eight hours of good sleep per night or you will feel it by morning.

Any sign of discomfort or pain after you wake up isn’t normal – and usually pointing to either very bad sleeping position and habits, or the pillows you are currently using aren’t right for you and need to be changed as soon as you can. This is a surefire way to develop a range of other health problems too, and everything from your headaches to grinding and snoring can be attributed to not having the right support for your neck.

The best pillows for neck support

So, what kind of pillows should you consider when it’s neck support that you’re looking for? First, we would highly recommend that you select an option that’s made from memory foam, as memory foam is designed to give you the best neck support that you could wish for: It changes to the shape of your head and neck to ensure that you are as comfortable as you can possibly be – even if you are suffering from pain due to an earlier neck injury. Getting a memory foam pillow to support your neck is a healthier option overall: And whether you want to choose one that has contours or not is entirely up to personal preference, we can’t honestly say that one is a better one than the other. We’d recommend that you test several and choose the one that offers you the most comfort.

There are also specialized pillows that have a neck-supporting design, and these look almost like a U with the ends pinched. These are neck pillows, and are generally offered for neck support when you’re travelling – but they can also make a great option for sleeping if you find that you really, really need some neck support – as long as you’re doing this with the advice of your doctor and as long as you’re doing in combination with other pillows, we don’t see why you shouldn’t invest in one of these U-shaped pillows for your neck, too – keep in mind that memory foam options are also available if you want something more durable than those that are blown up with air.

Why you shouldn’t sleep on your back

It’s extremely common for many people to sleep on their back – and for some, it’s too uncomfortable of a position to even imagine. But did you know that doctors advise that people shouldn’t sleep on their backs because it can be the cause of a whole range of health problems? First, it can be potentially very unhealthy for your back, especially if you sleep in the same position for the entire night.

Secondly, sleeping on your back leads to a higher likelihood of snoring – which in itself can lead to other problems like developing headaches, migraines and sinus problems, which can turn into chronic conditions all on their own. If you sleep on your back, pillows are a great way to force yourself into a new sleeping routine and position – especially if you can learn to make use of a body pillow rather than sleep on your back. Sleeping on your side is beneficial for many reasons, and this just proves how much it can do for your health just to change the position that you sleep in.

Sleeping on your side

If you don’t naturally sleep on your side already, you might consider switching to sleeping on your side for the reasons we’ve already outlined above – sleeping on your side can be much more comfortable, especially if you find that you prefer sleeping on one side to the other, and you will also find that you have much more space to stretch out in when you sleep, which is a very important thing for some people. As we’ve already mentioned, sleeping on your side is highly beneficial – and if you want to switch over, all you have to do is change your pillows.

Body pillows for side sleepers

It doesn’t really matter if you consider yourself a side-sleeper already, if you want to switch to sleeping on your side for the reasons we’ve already outlined, then you might like to invest in a good body pillow – having a body pillow to rely on will learn to force you to sleep on your side and adapt a more comfortable position over time. If you’re already a side-sleeper who packs themselves in with plenty of pillows before bed, you’re also bound to be happy with memory foam body pillows for side sleeping.

Again, we’d go ahead and recommend that you go for options made from memory foam – again because memory foam is very durable, but also again because of the fact that memory foam can be relied upon to spring right back to its original shape once the pressure is taken off it. This means that even if you have special needs due to your body or neck, your body pillow can conform to your body for the most comfortable sleeping experience you’ve ever felt.

About the author

Amy Tokic

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