Whether you're prone to neck and back pain or you simply like to be extra cozy at night, having the right pillow can make a world of difference. "If you suffer from neck pain, a proper pillow will relax muscles and tendons around your neck and give you a sufficient amount of comfort to stop tossing and turning," Alex Savy, certified sleep science coach and founder of the review site Sleeping Ocean, tells Mic. So, what exactly should you look for when shopping for one of the best neck pillows for sleeping?
That largely depends on your personal sleeping habits, Savy explains. Side and back sleepers, for example, will want something with raised edges and a contoured design that can adapt to the curve of your neck and help relax your spine. "Raised edges allow you to switch between the supine and lateral positions and provide a supportive loft for both of them," he says. Side sleepers may want something with "slightly shorter edges," so they have somewhere comfortable to put their shoulder that supports their neck alignment.
Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, will do better with thinner pillows or even folded towels, Savy says. However, he notes that it's best for people who sleep on their stomach to ultimately try to adopt new sleeping habits. "When you’re sleeping on your stomach, you usually turn your head to the side, which results in straining the neck muscles," he says. In addition to straining the muscles, this puts your head out of alignment with your spine, which over time can lead to chronic neck problems.