Pillow talk!

We all realise the benefit of a good mattress for a good night’s sleep but if you wake up in the morning with neck pain, your pillow could be the culprit!

The type of pillow you choose and  how you sleep on it makes a massive impact on how you feel when you wake up in the morning.

Waking up with a sore neck is not the preferred way to start the day. It can quickly bring on a bad mood and make simple movements like turning your head extremely painful.

Of course, in some cases the pain is age-related or connected to other health issues, so always check with your Chiropractor if you are waking up with a sore neck.

Choosing the right pillow and knowing how to position yourself in bed before going to sleep can help you get a good night’s rest.

The good news is that if it is your pillow causing the problem, it is fairly easy to make a change once you know what to look for.

What is the best sleeping position for neck pain?

It is likely that your sleeping position is contributing to your neck pain. Some positions put extra strain on the neck and if you are sleeping an average of 7-9 hours each night in the wrong position, it could add up to a big problem.

Two sleeping positions are the easiest on the neck and they are on your back or on your side. The worst sleeping position for your neck is sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, you have to turn your head to one side in order to breathe, which takes your neck out of proper alignment.

How to choose and use the best pillow!

The rule of thumb for a proper pillow is that it should keep your neck parallel to the mattress, rather than bent up or down. The truth is finding that pillow may take some trial and error.

In reality nearly all of us change sleeping positions throughout the night, however if you sleep in one of these positions, or at least wake up in them – here’s what type of pillow might be best for you!

Side sleepers

An amazing 34% of people in the UK sleep on their side. Side sleepers need the thickest or most supportive pillow. This should be thick enough to fill the gap between the top of your shoulders and your neck.

Back sleepers

Pillows for back sleepers need to be flat enough to support the natural curvature of the neck. If you have neck pain and sleep on your back, look for a pillow that provides additional support, while maintaining a softness that is comfortable.

Stomach sleepers

If your habit of sleeping on your stomach is too much to break, try a pillow that is about three inches thick to help ensure your neck and spine stay aligned.

Other factors to consider are:

  • Pillows that adapt to your position are best. Cervical contour pillows work best for most people. Your head rests in a depression in the centre, your neck rests on an either less elevated side when you are on your back or on a more elevated side when side lying.
  • Another option is a traditionally shaped pillow made from memory foam that conforms to the contours of your head and neck. Manufacturers of memory foam pillows claim they help to promote proper spinal alignment.
  • Latex foam is probably the best material as it offers support without heating you up like memory foam. Of course, if you are allergic to latex you may want to stick to just a memory foam pillow.
  • They may be more affordable but feather pillows, probably cause the most neck pain. The feathers move when you do so you wind up with little or no support.
  • Consider your mattress! If you have a firmer mattress, you will need a thicker pillow because your shoulder will not sink into the mattress very much. If you have a memory foam mattress or topper you will need a thinner pillow because your shoulder will sink into the bed somewhat.

Every pillow has its pros and cons, different people with unique needs will need different pillows. Hopefully, you find a pillow that is right for you.

The bottom line

Choose a pillow that supports your neck properly at night and this should help you sleep more soundly and wake up feeling refreshed and more importantly – pain free!

If you continue to have problems with your neck then it is time to make an appointment with your Chiropractor!

If you would like some further information or to speak to a member of our team please call us on: Hitchin 01462 420077 or Luton 01582 579687, alternatively e-mail us at: or .