Home / Pillow tips / Why Does My Pillow Give Me a Pain in the Neck?

    Hot Tip: Use a memory foam pillow, which you can easily roll up into about a quarter of its size and take it with you when you are away overnight – that way even if the bed is not ideal your pillow will at least be comfortable and allow you to sleep without neck pain!

    Best pillows for neck problems

    Think back to the times you spent a night in a hotel and you had the choice of either the super hard (and high) pillow or the super soft pillow. The super soft one was great at the start but then after a while your head would sag on the mattress.

    Or the opposite  – the hard pillow which not only felt like a rock but was way too high and felt like you were sleeping with all your weight on your neck.

    What did you try ? – Perhaps you rolled up or folded a towel and put under the pillow but found it felt like a rock? Or a second soft pillow on top of the first only to wake up gasping for air as it wrapped around your face.

    You may have even tried one of the cushions off the lounge.  Or in desperation hit the mini bar and tried for the alcohol sedative… We all know that when your neck aches, there is no worse feeling in the world.  You aren’t able to get comfortable when you’re trying to fall asleep or you are woken up by pain which stops you getting back to sleep.

    So if your pillow is too high or too low, too soft or too firm, most commonly one of two things will generally happen. Your neck will move to an unnatural position (see diagram), your brain will sense that there is some pain being generated and will send a signal to your body to wake up and/or roll over.

    If the pain is constant you can spend the whole night tossing and turning, disrupting the deep sleep cycles your body needs and may even give you lower back pain as well.

    Secondly and maybe worse, if you are over tired you will just sleep through the pain signals from the brain and this is generally what leads to inflammation that causes the stiffness or soreness in the morning.

    So what can you do?  My recommendation is to use a “contour” shape pillow such as the Cr Sleep Memory Foam Contour Pillow to give your neck the best support.