Highest Rated Mattresses for Neck Pain – Updated Reviews for 2019

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We’ve all woken up in the morning with a stiff neck at some point, but what happens when your neck hurts before you even go to bed?

If you’ve injured yourself, had a car accident, or you sit at your desk hunched over the keyboard all day, neck pain can prevent you from getting comfortable and falling asleep at night.

The worst thing is when you wake up sore, feel awful all day, and then still have that dull pain when it’s time for bed.

Whether your discomfort is due to an injury, arthritis or a mishap at CrossFit, there can be ways to both prevent and improve pain that don’t require drastic measures. It might be as simple as changing your sleeping position, switching out your pillow, or buying a new mattress (maybe a model from our top overall list).

If your bed is keeping you up at night, take a look at the best mattresses for neck pain.

loom and leaf small mobile image Loom & Leaf
  • Trial Period: 120 Days
  • Warranty: 15 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
casper small product image The Casper
  • Trial Period: 100 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
purple bed mobile product image Purple
  • Trial Period: 100 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
mobile small product image of bear mattress Bear
  • Trial Period: 100 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
layla bed new medium product image Layla
  • Trial Period: 120 Days
  • Warranty: Lifetime
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE
Sojourn bed small image iPedic Sojourn 12" Gel Memory Foam
  • Trial Period: 120 Days
  • Warranty: 10 Years
CLICK HERE FOR PRICE

Top 6 Beds for Neck Pain Sufferers

Loom & Leaf – Firm Memory Foam

Highlights:

  • Certified Organic Cotton
  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 120-Day Trial
  • 15-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

Loom & Leaf is a memory foam bed from Saatva’s line of affordable luxury mattresses, and it delivers a uniquely firm memory foam experience with either their Relaxed Firm or Firm options.

Either choice should deliver exceptional spine support while still cradling your body gently in contouring foams to help both relieve your pressure and reduce your pain by keeping your spine level.

What makes it special? Your previous experience with traditional memory foams may have meant a “journey to the center of the bed” but high-quality materials blended with a cradling cover and firm base should keep your well spine aligned. The tightly stretched cover, in particular, prevents you from dipping too low, and the overall firm feel is both comfortable and supportive.

Both firmness options provide fantastic support, but the Firm version may be preferable for sleepers that are significantly heavier to ensure that their spine receives the extra support they require. All Saatva beds are delivered full-size by a professional delivery service that is included within the price of the mattress.

Need to learn more about L&L? Your can see more details here.

The Casper – Spine Alignment

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 100-Night Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Designed and Assembled in the USA

The newest update to Casper’s well-known bed-in-a-box mattress may be music to the ears of neck pain sufferers, as its third Zoned Support™ was designed to deliver exceptional spine alignment paired with pressure relief.

The bed’s “universal” feel is engineered to cater to most body types and preferences.

All four of Casper’s foam layers are layered strategically to balance comfort and support for a variety of body weights. A firmer memory foam is placed below a responsive layer of proprietary open cell foam to help keep the surface cooler and easier to navigate.

What’s its best feature? Casper’s new transition layer incorporates a firmer foam in the bed’s center beneath where your hips typically rest to help accommodate any additional weight you may carry in this region. This feature strives to keep your hips remain level with your shoulders and legs without sacrificing comfort at the top or bottom of the mattress.

Read more about Casper bed in our analysis with some in-depth details here.

Purple – Innovative Material

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 100-Day Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

Purple mattress delivers great appeal with their new approach to comfort materials, and those who appreciate scientific research and unique materials may appreciate Purple’s Hyper-Elastic Polymer™, a gel-like grid system that delivers both support and pressure relief within the same material.

What is unique about it? The Hyper-Elastic Polymer™ was designed to collapse under concentrations of weight while still standing firm within the areas where your body curves inward. Excellent support against the curve of your lower back and neck can assist good spine alignment while also helping to reduce potentially painful pressure points that could exacerbate neck pain.

Though this system may feel completely different from materials you’ve slept on before, it’s added advantage is its versatility because it was built to adapt to different curves, weights, and shapes. Couples with different body types or combination sleepers who like to change positions should appreciate how adaptive this material can be.

See more details about this model in our full overview here.

Bear Mattress – Athletes and Active Folks

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 100-Day Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Children’s Charity Initiative
  • Made in the USA

Bear Mattress is committed to providing mattress comfort for active individuals who require restorative rest in order to maintain their peak performance.

This dedication has steered their mattress design towards wellness innovations they claim may help restore sore muscles and reduce inflammation.

What stands out? Though clinical research is currently ongoing, early testing of Celliant® – a textile woven into the bed’s cover – indicates that it may be beneficial in improving circulation and tissue oxygenation, which potentially could help reduce neck pain. If you’d like to learn more about this technology, we encourage you to further investigate the manufacturer’s scientific findings and the material’s potential clinical indications.

Below the performance cover, Bear has built their bed-in-a-box with a mix of cooling memory foams that use graphite to reduce heat retention and durable support foams that should support spine alignment. If you would like to investigate the mattress’ restorative abilities yourself, the company offers a 100-night risk-free sleep trial.

Do you consider yourself an active person? If you think this one is right for you but you're not 100% sure you can check out the details here.

Layla – Great Pressure Relief

Highlights:

  • Dual-sided Firmness
  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • 120-Day Trial
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Made in the USA

At Layla, the only thing better than a memory foam mattresses is two memory foam beds built into one construction.

Whether a firmer or softer bed will best suit your spine alignment and pressure relief needs, Layla has you covered with their flippable design, though some research indicates that a firmer bed may be the best fit for neck pain sufferers.

What makes it special? Soft or firm, Layla delivers a classic memory foam feel that uses an infusion of copper to help wick away heat while cradling the body and melting away pressure. Copper also provides some proven antimicrobial properties, though further medical uses of the material are still under investigation.

A proprietary gel in the cover also assists with temperature regulation, so you should not overheat like you might in more traditional memory products, but you should still enjoy that classic pressure relief and exceptional motion isolation.

Layla can be a good choice, and if you want to learn more about it read our full review over here.

iPedic Sojourn 12″ Gel Memory Foam

Highlights:

  • CertiPUR-US® Certified
  • OEKO-TEX® Certified
  • 120-Day Trial
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • Made in the USA

Ultimate Dreams Supreme is our pick for best budget choice because its simple design offers impressive quality priced much lower than comparable in-store models, and it is built by a family-owned company dedicated to affordability.

The Dreamfoam brand, which is backed by top mattress maker Brooklyn Bedding, can offer substantial savings on quality products because they do all of their manufacturing at their own factory.

The streamlined construction of this mattress consists of three layers of foam: Two layers of high-density memory foam for comfort placed over an 8-inch supportive base. Gel in the top layer of foam and a breathable stretch-knit cotton cover help prevent the bed from overheating.

What is unique? This combination of materials should offer an excellent blend of spine support and pressure relief that neck pain sufferers require to help keep their pain at bay. This brand also offers high quality that has been third-party tested for safety at a price that is exceptionally affordable.

Want to know more about this model? See the full list of details we reviewed here.

What Causes Neck Soreness at Night?

Sleeping Position

Side

We’re all different, so there’s not a single best position for sleeping. It’s mostly a matter of preference. Regardless of your preferred position, there are best practices that you can follow that will help stop neck pain in its tracks.

Most people prefer to sleep on their side for at least some portion of the night. The most important thing to remember if you’re a side sleeper is to keep your neck and spine in proper alignment.

In general, you should sleep on a pillow that’s thicker than what a stomach or back sleeper would use, but not so high that your neck is thrown out of whack. When you lie on your side, your spine, from the base of your skull down to your tailbone, should be in a straight line.

We’ll talk more in a bit about how your pillow plays a part in this, but for now, just know that a pillow that’s too high or low will put your neck at an unnatural angle.

Stomach

If you’ve got neck challenges, try avoiding sleeping on your stomach! When you lie on your stomach, you may either have to strain your head up in order to be able to breathe normally, or even worse; you turn your head to the side, which has the potential to hyperextend the muscles. Stomach sleeping can be a recipe for cervical pain.

For people who insist that the only position they can fall asleep in is by lying flat on their stomach, there are a couple of hacks that you can try:

  1. Use a very thin pillow that keeps your neck relatively flat.
  2. Avoid using a pillow at all and sleep directly on the sheet.
  3. Or a more expensive hack: Try to get a mattress designed for belly sleeping

The reason these tips can help is that they allow your neck to stay centered over your shoulders, and that’s one of the keys to preventing undue strain.

Wondering where to put your arms? Our recommendation is to raise them above your head, in either a field goal position, or cross them above your head with your hands touching opposite elbows.

Back

People with neck pain often find relief by sleeping on their back. This allows the neck to be at a neutral angle without twisting to the side. Back sleepers should use a thinner pillow to prevent propping their head up too much.

The best way to determine if you’re in the right position is to lie down and have a friend or family member take a close-up picture of your head and shoulder area so you can see if you’re at a neutral angle. If you feel strange about making that odd request, set a timer on your phone (there’s a free app) and take the photo yourself.

Your Pillow

The wrong pillow can wreak havoc on your neck. You should ideally choose something that’s not too high, not too low, not too firm, and not too soft. It’s almost as if you’re a real-life, modern-day Goldilocks.

Here, we’ll break down the different pillow styles and heights to consider:

Orthopedic Pillows

Also known as cervical pillows, these have a contoured design that has a deeper impression for your skull and curved support for your neck. If you’re a back sleeper, these are fantastic.

Body Pillows

Ah, these are heaven! Known for providing relief for pregnant women, body pillows are becoming more mainstream, and they are true miracle workers when it comes to providing comfort. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from cushions that span the entire length of your body to some that are more like the size of your torso.

They’re ideal for supporting your head, and some allow you to position your body in a way that also provides support for your knees and lower back.

Feather Pillows

For animal rights purposes, you can look for a down alternative. It’ll feel just like feathers without the quills poking through and you can sleep with a clear conscience knowing that no animals were tortured to make your nocturnal gear. The reason feather, or down alternative, pillows are helpful for neck pain is because they can be easily reshaped, and they also adapt to your sleeping position.

This type of pillow is ideal if you start the night on your back and then switch to your side or stomach, or you move around all night. Different sleeping positions require varying pillow thicknesses, so having something that adjusts along with you is perfect (you can see our recommended products here).

Memory Foam

These pillows are popular among people who want their head and neck to feel cradled, and they don’t move around a lot during the night. The foam will hold the shape of your head and keep you in a comfortable position all night. If you toss and turn, however, it may be harder to find that sweet spot because of the length of time it takes for the foam to adjust back to its normal shape.

Hard vs Soft

When in doubt, err on the side of a pillow that is too firm. A soft pillow will allow your head to sink deeply, which can twist your neck unnaturally.

Thin vs Thick

The ideal thickness or thinness of your pillow depends on your sleeping position and your body size. For example, if you sleep on your side, you should have a thicker pillow than if you sleep on your back or stomach. Back sleepers should have thin pillows, and stomach sleepers should have an extra thin pillow, or no pillow at all.

Your height and the width of your shoulders will also play a part in determining the right pillow height. Someone who is petite should choose a thinner pillow than someone who is larger, for example.

woman sleep on pillow

The Wrong Mattress for Your Needs

Did you know that there’s an ideal mattress firmness depending on the position you sleep in?

If you, or another couple you know, has ever talked about how one person thinks the bed is too soft and the other complains the bed is too firm, then there’s a good chance they sleep in different positions.

Take this as an example. A woman thought the mattress she shared with her husband was too firm, and he was adamant that it was too soft, and lacked support. It turns out that she was pure side sleeper and he was a back sleeper. She needed something contouring, and he wanted a bed that had more firmness.

At the time, they had a pure innerspring bed, and they switched to a hybrid innerspring/memory foam mattress. Now they’re both happy.

That story is quite common and demonstrates that how you interpret the firmness level of a mattress will depend heavily on how you sleep.

As you may have gathered, side sleepers need a mattress that contours their body and hugs their curves. People who sleep on their side experience a lot of pressure from the weight of their shoulders and hips digging into the surface of the bed. They need a mattress that is soft to cradle that weight and provide pressure relief.

Back sleepers need a firm bed, but not too firm. They should feel well-supported throughout their entire body, especially in the low back and hip area where their weight will tend to sink in. On a firmness scale, we would classify this as medium-firm.

Stomach sleepers are a whole other animal. They require a firm mattress to support the weight of their entire body and prevent their hips from sinking into the bed, which will cause their back to arch, exacerbating any pain, especially in the neck.

Stiff & Weak Muscles

If you’ve sustained an injury, had surgery, or have spent years practicing improper posture, then you may have stiff and weak muscles in the neck area. We recommend seeing a physical therapist who can work with you to help strengthen and relax those muscles. Often, they’ll also assign homework, so you can do these exercises independently and improve even faster.

Herniated Discs

Those with herniated discs may experience the pain of this condition either in their cervical spine, which is in the neck, in their lumbar spine, which is their lower back. In most serious cases, herniated discs in the thoracic spine can be particularly debilitating. Though surgery is an option for this condition, many individuals prefer to manage the pain with lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medicine, and/or proper sleep hygiene.

When sleeping with a herniated disc, where ever its location may be, you want to make sure your posture remains in a neutral position and you aren’t putting any unnecessary strain on your strain by holding it in an awkward position. Beds with enhanced support, such as zoned materials, and a good blend of comfort can help you sleep better without aggravating your pain points.

If you want to know more and see our top rated beds for herniated disc, you can find everything here.

female physiotherapist giving shoulder massage to woman

No More Phone in Bed

You’re not going to like this, but you may need to stop taking your phone to bed! Here are three compelling reasons why you should remove the phone from your sleeping area:

  • Text neck: When you look down at your phone, your head tilts at an unnatural angle of up to 60 degrees. Think about how much your head weighs (about 10-12 pounds), and then consider how all that force is being plunged downward. We’re sure there’s some physics formula to demonstrate how unnatural and unhealthy this is.
  • Smartphone Chin(s): No one wants a double chin, but keep looking down at your phone, and you’re bound to get one. Don’t believe us? Put your phone in mirror mode and look down at it as if you were scrolling through Facebook or reading this fascinating article. Count the number of chins you have.
  • Blue Light Special: Is Kmart even still around? Anyway, the light that your phone emits disrupts your melatonin production, the hormone that helps you sleep. So, if you’re checking email in bed, or doing something that’s of equally perceived importance, it’s going to negatively affect your ability to fall asleep.

Pregnancy

Depending on what trimester you’re in, you’ll face a varying set of challenges. You already know that you can’t take painkillers, so you have to get creative when it comes to battling neck pain.

During your first trimester, your body is going through a lot of hormonal changes, so you can expect to experience extra stiffness. Things may regulate during the second trimester, only to flare up again in the third, and final, trimester (you can see more interesting details here).

Remember, our neck and back are linked, literally, by our spinal column, so the pain and pressure you feel in the lower portion of your body is connected to your neck, too.

When you’re pregnant, try avoiding sleeping on your stomach and investing in a body pillow. The body pillow will become your new best friend. You can even share ice cream together. Look for something that supports your stomach while also allowing your neck to stay in alignment. We recommend either a full body pillow or something that you can place between your knees to ease any pressure.

Best Type for Neck Pain

Memory Foam

If you’re a side sleeper, you can start your mattress search with memory foam brands. These may contour best to the shape of your body and keep your spine in perfect alignment.

The history of memory foam is rather fascinating. We won’t bore you with all the details, but you may be interested to know that the material was developed by a NASA scientist to help make aircraft cushions safer. We’ve seen Apollo 13, and we know how those astronauts can get thrown around in space.

It took about 25 years, but finally a mattress company made the connection between impact safety and mattress comfort. And memory foam was born.

image of a memory foam bed with decorative pillows

Latex

Latex has a lot of the same properties as memory foam, but instead of being made out of a viscoelastic polyurethane foam, it’s the product of sap from a rubber tree. There are synthetic forms of latex that are less expensive, although they are made of chemical components.

Latex is known to provide a cooler sleeping experience than memory foam, but it can be more expensive (that's why he wanted to help you with our top list of latex beds that won't empty your wallet). Again, if you’re a side sleeper, you’ll appreciate the softness and comfort of latex. It’s also ideal for back sleepers.

Hybrid

Hybrid beds can be any combination of materials; usually a blend of coil construction and latex or memory foam, or both. If you’re on the fence about whether you should get a foam mattress or an innerspring bed, or if you have a partner with vastly different preferences than yours, a hybrid bed could be a happy compromise (and you can check out our top picks for more info).

No matter what your sleeping position, look for a quality core construction made from top-notch coils and a soft, but supportive upper layer.

Innerspring

Stomach sleepers and innerspring beds are a match made in heaven. This type of bed can be the most supportive for some, which is what stomach sleepers, who are prone to experience neck pain, need. In the bedding industry, you’ll find four types of coils in innerspring mattresses: bonnell, continuous, offset, and pocketed (learn more here if you'd like to check out our top picks).

You can find quality mattresses featuring each of these types of coils, but if your budget allows, look for either offset or pocketed coils. These will provide the most durable structure and mimic the contouring effect of memory foam without the feeling of sinking in to the surface of the bed.

What to Look For

Pressure Relief

When we talk about pressure relief, we’re referring to relieving pressure from the weight that your shoulders, torso, and hips put on the surface of the mattress. Ideally, your mattress should provide enough sinkage to allow your body to maintain a natural angle and feel comfortable.

Mattresses that are too hard won’t provide adequate pressure relief, and those that are too soft can cause you to sink down to the base of the mattress. Either way, your neck will be thrown out of alignment, and even if you have no underlying conditions, you can expect to wake up stiff and uncomfortable if you sleep on a bad bed for too long.

Support & Spine Alignment

Again, there’s a delicate balance between hardness and softness when it comes to a mattress. There’s a reason that Goldilocks and the Three Bears is such a popular story that we all know intimately.

Whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach, it’s imperative that your spine stays in alignment. By that, we mean that it should be straight and mimic the way it would look if you stood up straight in the correct posture. If your bed doesn’t provide adequate support, your spine could either buckle or sink, both of which increase your chance of feeling pain in your neck.

Durability

Most beds feel comfortable when you first buy them. They’ll feel soft and fluffy, like a cloud. But fast forward five or ten years, and you might have springs poking out, unraveling fabric, or severe indentations that make you feel like there’s a strong gravitational force pulling you through the center of the bed and into the depths of an uncomfortable hell.

When you’re buying a new mattress, it’s a smart idea to weigh the cost of the bed versus its longevity. Mattresses that are built to last may cost more initially, but they’ll last longer and provide more years of comfort.

double bed with pillows

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I consider sleeping with a cervical collar?

If you’re having an especially hard time falling asleep because of pain in your neck, you may want to ask your doctor about a cervical collar, also called a neck collar. It looks like a soft, foam neck brace, and it’s comfortable enough to wear in bed.

Use caution when wearing one of these, however. Just like wearing a back brace for lifting, it can provide protection and support, but extended wear will weaken the muscles, making your neck pain problem even worse.

What are some quick tips to ease cervical stiffness?

Stretching exercises are a quick and effective way to ease cervical stiffness. One doctor from the Cleveland Clinic recommends the following four exercises, and they only take a few minutes:

  • Do 10 backwards shoulder rolls.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together 10 times (push your chest out and squeeze backwards).
  • Sitting in your car, push your head all the way back into the headrest and hold for 30 seconds. An alternative to this exercise is to tilt your head back and look at the sky, being careful not to overextend your neck to the point where it’s painful. Also, avoid doing this directly below a flock of birds.
  • Tilt your head to the right side toward your ear and repeat 10 times. Switch sides, and do 10 repetitions on that side, too.

Other tips include the application of ice and heat. Start with ice for the first 48-72 hours after the first instance of stiffness, and then switch to heat after that.

You can also try an orthopedic or cervical pillow that offers proper contouring and support. You may want to use it as a preventive measure on a regular basis, or just when you have neck pain.

Can neck pain cause headaches?

Yes, absolutely! Many headaches are actually caused by neck pain because the upper portion of the spinal column in the neck, or cervical spine, shares the same neural pathways as our head and face. This type of neck pain can result in something called a cervicogenic headache.

Like a regular headache, most of the symptoms are the same. Patients report pain, nausea, and increased sensitivity to light and noise. The difference between a cervicogenic headache and a standard headache is that you’ll feel tenderness or sensitivity at the base of your skull, and it may be painful to move your head from side to side.

What if I Have Insomnia?

There are a number things that can disturb your sleep at night and chronic pain definitely tops the list, and a majority of Americans who are treated for pain each year complain that they also suffer from insomnia. If your pain is the cause of your restlessness, a superior sleep space can reduce pressure on your pain points and get you to sleep.

While a pillow may play an important role in alleviating neck pain while you sleep, your mattress also plays a crucial role (that's why we made some top picks for insomnia here). You want to be sure that your body is able to sink into the bed so that your entire spine remains in a straight position. If you lie on your side and your shoulders aren’t able to adequately dip into the comfort materials, you may have trouble getting off to sleep or wake in the middle of the night with a stiff neck.

Conclusion


The hours we spend in front of a computer and on our smartphones can lead to neck pain, and this pain can last anywhere from a single night to years. By taking a few proactive steps, like limiting smartphone use, or at least being conscious of our body’s position while we use our devices, we can help prevent this pain from happening in the first place.

If you’re already stuck in a cycle of neck pain, add some light stretching exercises to your routine and evaluate whether your pillow or your mattress could be contributing to the issue.

Author: Sarah Cummings

I think we’re all nerds, but I’m probably the biggest nerd in the group. Put me nose deep in a spreadsheet and I'll start smiling.

I love to travel, hang out with positive people, and love cycling when I find the time!

My hope is that everyone who visits our site will walk away with a fresh perspective. I think too many people in society downplay the importance of sleep. In my opinion, it’s the difference between an average life and an amazing one.

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