Are you waking up with neck pain or trying to drift off to sleep with a sore neck? Whether it’s from exertion, a recent injury, or poor sleep posture, neck pain can reduce your quality of sleep and quality of life. The right mattress can make it easier to fall asleep and wake up pain-free.
“Sleep and pain have a two-way relationship,” says Dr. Nayantara Santhi. “Poor sleep can intensify the pain and conversely, pain can worsen sleep.”
“It is well established that poor sleep affects our ability to function effectively during the day. Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent or on your back are the healthiest sleeping positions. This can reduce neck pain and help you sleep better.”
The best mattresses for neck pain relieve back and neck pressure, while a good pillow can support the head and prevent neck strain. Sleepers who can afford to may also want to invest in an adjustable bed to minimize pressure on their bodies.
Best Mattresses for Neck Pain
Quick Guide: A 30-Second Summary
|Best Mattress for Neck Pain||Amerisleep AS3|
|Best Mattress for Neck and Back Pain||Amerisleep AS2 Hybrid|
|Best Soft Mattress for Neck Pain||Amerisleep AS5 Hybrid|
|Best Natural Mattress for Neck Pain||Amerisleep Organica|
$1149 to $2398
5 to 6 out of 10 (Medium)
The AS3 mattress is our top recommendation when it comes to comfortable mattresses that ease neck pain. The mattress’s medium firmness and even mix of supportive and pressure-relieving foam come at an affordable price. Side, back, and combination sleepers can all enjoy the balanced feel of the AS3 mattress.
The AS3 mattress is 12 inches thick and has three foam layers in a soft, breathable cover:
- 3 inches of Bio-Pur® foam
- 2 inches of Affinity foam with HIVE® technology
- 7 inches of Bio-Core® foam
Bio-Pur® foam is our plant-based alternative to traditional memory foam. Instead of using only petrochemicals to make the foam, we mix part petrochemicals with castor oil. The resulting product is more breathable and responsive than the average foam and yields to a sleeper when they lie down. Bio-Pur® foam prevents pain by easing pressure and supporting the body.
Affinity foam with HIVE® technology creates five zones that alternate between support and pressure relief with hexagonal cutouts. The areas under the head, back, and feet have less flexibility and more firm support. The shoulder and hip areas have added flexibility to create more pressure-relieving cushion for these sensitive areas.
Bio-Core® foam provides a strong base that resists collapse after years of use. The strength Bio-Core® offers is a large part of why Amerisleep offers an industry-leading warranty with thorough sagging coverage. If your bed develops any indentations that exceed an inch because of unsupportive materials, we will replace the mattress for free.
An AS3 mattress, like all our mattresses, comes with free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial, and a 20-year warranty.
Are you not convinced the AS3 is the best mattress for you after a month? We will offer a full refund or exchange.
7 out of 10 (Medium-Firm)
If you’re experiencing back pain and a stiff neck in the morning, your mattress might not be firm enough to maintain a neutral spine alignment. A medium-firm mattress like our AS2 Hybrid can provide the back support you need with just the right amount of pressure-relieving cushion.
The AS2 Hybrid is also available as a memory foam mattress. We chose to focus on the hybrid for its bouncy support and buoyant feel.
Our AS2 Hybrid is 12 inches tall and contains four layers:
- 2 inches of Bio-Pur® foam
- 1 inch of Affinity foam with HIVE® technology
- 8 inches of pocketed coils
- 1 inch of sturdy base foam
As a reminder, Bio-Pur® foam is a reactive material that molds to the body when you lie down. The material cradles the sleeper for a floating feeling. The sensation of floating is further boosted by the bed’s pocketed coils.
Every coil inside the AS2 Hybrid is individually wrapped to provide excellent motion isolation. The wrappings allow each coil to react independently to your movements, keeping them from rippling across the mattress and disturbing your partner’s rest. The coils also provide edge support, making it easier for a sleeper to move in and out of bed.
The back support the coils offer is bolstered by the middle Affinity foam layer with HIVE® technology. The back area focuses on uncompromising support, while the shoulder area features extra flexibility to ease pressure. Proper shoulder support can prevent neck pain from developing.
An AS2 Hybrid includes free shipping, a 100-night sleep trial, and a 20-year warranty.
$2049 to $4198
3 out of 10 (Soft)
Many sleepers yearn for a soft mattress that will embrace their bodies and carry them off to a good night’s rest. The trick is to find a plush mattress that still supports the spine in its neutral position, which is where our AS5 Hybrid comes in. The bed is topped with soft, cushioning foam with underlying responsive coils, balancing conforming comfort with consistent support.
We recommend the AS5 Hybrid for side sleepers and petite individuals experiencing neck pain. There is also the original memory foam AS5 for shoppers to consider, particularly if they’re looking for a soft, thick mattress on a budget.
The AS5 Hybrid is 14 inches tall and contains four layers:
- 3 inches of Bio-Pur® foam
- 2 inches of Active Flex
- 8 inches of pocketed coils
- 1 inch of sturdy base foam
The mattress’s plush feel largely comes from the breathable, responsive Bio-Pur® foam that hugs the sleeper’s body. It only takes seconds for the Bio-Pur® to adapt to a sleeper’s body, even as they shift and move about. The thick, pressure-relieving cushion keeps pain from developing across the body.
Active Flex is a responsive foam exclusively found in our AS5 models. The material buoys a person’s body without reducing the plush feel of the Bio-Pur® foam. Thanks to Active Flex, you will feel cradled without any uncomfortable sinkage.
The pocketed coil support core provides full-body support. The sturdy foam base ensures the coils will stand strong after years of use.
The AS5 Hybrid comes with free shipping. It also comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
Best Natural Mattress for Neck Pain: Amerisleep Organica
More and more shoppers are trying to be “green” with their purchases. If your carbon footprint is a concern for you, we recommend our Amerisleep Organica mattress. The latex inside our bed is all-natural, with Joma Wool® cushioning and an organic cotton cover.
The Amerisleep Organica stands 13 inches tall and has four layers. The organic cotton cover encases all four layers, establishing a soft-to-the-touch feel that also keeps the surface cool and dry.
The layers are:
- 1 inch of New Zealand Joma Wool®
- 3 inches of Talalay latex
- 8 inches of pocketed coils
- 1 inch of Dunlop latex foam base
The Joma Wool® provides a temperature-neutral cushion, staying cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold. The wool also has moisture-wicking properties, keeping a sleeper dry while they rest.
The Talalay latex ensures a conforming feel, molding to the sleeper for pressure relief and pain prevention. Latex is also more breathable than the average foam, staying cool at night. Talalay latex is naturally buoyant, and the mattress’s bouncy feel is boosted by the pocketed coil layer. Like all of our hybrids, the Organica mattress features edge support and motion isolation.
Our memory foam and hybrid mattresses all contain CertiPUR-US® certified foam, a third-party organization that ensures foam is made without harmful materials. However, we wanted to go above and beyond when it came to the Organica mattress and obtained four separate certifications:
- The Global Organic Textile Standard has certified the yarn inside our cotton cover as organically harvested and produced.
- The Joma Wool® and Talalay latex both passed the Standard 100 test by OEKO-TEX®, which examines a product for numerous harmful chemicals.
- The Rainforest Alliance’s goal is to protect nature while improving farmers’ lives. The organization has certified the Talalay latex for its sustainable production.
- The eco-INSTITUT tests the emissions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as a test of a materials’ quality. That unpleasantly sharp “new mattress smell” tends to happen when VOC concentrations are too high. Our latex has passed eco-INSTITUT’s test.
The Organica mattress ships free. You also have a 100-night sleep trial, and a 20-year warranty.
Common Causes of Neck Pain
Whether you’re waking up with a bad neck or experiencing neck pain after a long day, you can avoid a repeat incidence by understanding why it happened. Sometimesof a more serious condition like However, it’s often just the result of bad posture.
The Wrong Mattress
If you have an old mattress or one that’s not suited for your sleep style, you’re likely to wake up in pain. Stiff necks, sore hips, bad shoulders, and back pain are all common signs of a bad mattress.
Waking up in pain isn’t the only sign that it’s time to replace your mattress. Other signs of a lackluster mattress include:
- An increase in morning allergy symptoms
- A sagging or lumpy surface
- Squeaky coils
- Daytime fatigue are all signs
Your sleeping position is a significant factor when it comes to choosing your mattress’s firmness, along with your body type. Side sleepers enjoy softer mattresses for pressure relief, while back and stomach sleepers can support their spines with a firmer bed.
Similarly, a bad pillow can leave you waking up with neck pain.
Your daytime posture matters just as much as your sleeping posture when it comes to a healthy spine alignment.
For example, people who are on their smartphones a lot may experience “text neck.” Craning your head down to look at your phones has its consequences. Similarly, do you have poor sitting posture at your office desk? Expect a stiff and sore neck after work.
Injuries and Conditions
A recent traumatic injury, such as a fall or a car accident, can leave you with a strained neck. Similarly, a spinal condition, such as acan cause neck pain.
Neck pain can also develop over time from weakened muscles, particularly if you don’t take care with your posture. Physical therapy can help you strengthen your neck muscles.
Pregnant women may experience neck pain as a result of the stress on their lower back, along with other
Mattress Types For Neck Pain
When you’re looking for a mattress to relieve neck pain, you should focus on a type that can conform to the body and support a good sleep posture.
Memory foam mattresses are often the top recommendation when it comes to relieving pain. Why? Because the material is pressure and heat-sensitive, yielding to the body’s curves and easing pressure points that can build up into pain.
They’re not the only mattress type that conforms well to the body, of course. However, memory foam mattresses tend to be more popular than latex and hybrid mattresses because of their lower prices.
Traditional memory foam does sometimes retain too much body heat, but most modern manufacturers have solved this issue in one way or another. Many infuse their mattresses with cooling gels and other heat-wicking materials. Others create a more airy foam with plant-based materials.
Latex foam and memory foam have similar feels, contouring to the body and relieving pressure. However, a latex mattress is often cooler and firmer than a memory foam bed, and the material tends to keep a sleeper more on top of the mattress. Latex foam can also be all-natural, while memory foam cannot be produced without some petrochemicals.
Natural latex mattresses are one of the more durable types of mattresses, with many lasting far beyond a decade. The material’s buoyancy resists sagging and indentations, providing consistent comfort and support every night. Some people choose another type because a natural latex mattress is costly, though others feel its longevity is worth the price.
Traditional innerspring mattresses have a coil layer with unwrapped coils with foam padding on the top and bottom and a fabric cover. This gives an innerspring mattress a firm feel and promotes a cool surface.
Innerspring mattresses are supportive. However, we do not recommend them for people experiencing acute or chronic neck pain. Many traditional innerspring mattress owners have complained about how the bed couldn’t contour well enough to relieve pressure across their bodies. This pressure would accumulate and leave the owners in pain when they woke up.
Hybrid mattresses mix a foam mattress’s conforming top layers with an innerspring mattress’s supportive coils. However, the coils inside a hybrid mattress are different from what you would find in a traditional innerspring mattress. Hybrids usually have pocketed coils, where every coil is wrapped to keep movement from rippling across the sleeping surface and disturbing a partner’s rest.
A hybrid mattress is more conforming than a traditional innerspring mattress and a better cooling mattress than a traditional foam bed. Some sleepers also prefer the bouncy feel of a hybrid over the cradling feel of an all-foam mattress. However, hybrids do have drawbacks. They’re one of the heavier and more expensive types of mattresses.
Sleeping Positions and Neck Pain
People usually fall asleep in one of three positions. Some enjoy falling asleep on their sides, while others can’t fall asleep if they’re not on their stomach or back. Every position creates a different amount of distance between your neck and the mattress surface. This means each position requires a different pillow thickness, or loft, for proper neck support.
The right mattress for you will also depend on your body type. People under 130 pounds often feel comfortable on the softer mattresses in their recommended range because they mold to the body well, easing pressure.
Conversely, people over 230 pounds may benefit from trying the firmer mattresses in their recommended range. Firm mattresses for heavier sleepers often prevent people from sinking too far into bed. This lack of sinkage promotes a healthy and natural spine alignment. However, a conforming mattress with high-quality materials may still sufficiently support their body weight.
Side sleeping is a good position for your neck if you have the proper pillow and mattress. A mid to high-loft pillow can cushion and support a side sleeper’s head and neck.
Good mattresses for side sleeping should offer a soft to medium feel. Softer feels prevent shoulder and hip pain from developing.
Sleeping on your back can be helpful if you’re experiencing neck pain. Lying on your back keeps your spine in a neutral position, including your cervical spine. Back sleepers benefit from a medium to firm mattress with a mid-loft pillow to support their necks.
Stomach sleeping can cause or exacerbate neck pain because it encourages poor posture. When you lie down on your stomach, you have to place your head in an unnatural position to breathe. Holding this position for hours at a time places unnecessary tension on your neck.
People experiencing neck pain might want to switch to side or back sleeping. If you’re set on a quality mattress for stomach sleeping, look for one that’s medium-firm or firm. A firm feel minimizes the sinkage that can cause spinal misalignment.
Pair the mattress with a thin pillow. Alternatively, skip the head pillow entirely.
Understanding Sleep Trials and Warranties
Most mattresses worth considering come with a sleep trial, and any decent mattress should include a warranty. Budget mattresses may not have a sleep trial, but they should have a warranty.
Sleep trials are essentially an extended return policy. You have a few months from when the mattress arrives at your front door to try it out. If the mattress is not to your liking, you can return it and ask for a full refund. You may also be able to exchange the mattress for another model.
Warranties provide protection against defective materials. Sagging materials, tears or cracks in the foam, and burst coils are all typically covered under warranty. A good mattress should have a warranty that covers the first 10 years of ownership.
Pillows for Neck Pain
Pillows support your head and neck throughout the night. If you’re waking up with neck pain, the cause is likely a bad pillow. You want to consider pillow loft, pillow firmness, and the fill when you’re shopping for one of the best pillows for neck pain.
We’ve already touched on pillow loft and how it can keep you from waking up with a stiff neck. A too-thick or too-thin pillow can tilt your neck out of neutral alignment.
Pillow firmness is another important consideration when alleviating neck pain. A too-soft pillow can leave your head unsupported. In other words, you’ll sink too deep into the pillow and strain your neck. To avoid twisting your neck into an unnatural position, try a firm pillow to relieve neck pain.
Pillow fills also affect the support and pressure relief a pillow offers. Conforming memory foam pillows can relieve pressure. Pillows with flexible fills such as down and shredded foam can adapt to movements.
Is neck pain a recurring issue? You might want to invest in a specialty pillow instead of using a standard head pillow. Orthopedic or cervical pillows have a hollow for your head and sides to support your neck.
Adjustable Bases and Neck Pain
Adjustable beds are becoming more popular among sleepers. Why? They offer unparalleled control when it comes to comfort. Raising parts of the mattress not only makes it easier to do things like sit up and read. Elevating the body also can ease pressure and reduce pain.
Take someone who’s experiencingThey can elevate their legs with an adjustable base, minimizing pressure on their back area. The loss of pressure also decreases the chances of back pain. Similarly, sleeping with your head inclined can lower pressure on your neck and eliminate pain.
Many adjustable beds also include a massage feature, such as our Adjustable Bed+. With just the touch of a button, you can experience a full-body, gentle massage that soothes aching muscles.
How Do I Loosen Up My Neck Muscles?
We’ve discussed many products that can provide neck pain relief. However, spending money isn’t the only way to experience a better night’s sleep and a pain-free daily routine. Taking the time to incorporate a few simple neck stretches can keep you in great shape.
In particular, the side rotation and the forward-back tilt stretches can be done while you’re sitting or standing.
With your head over your shoulders and your back straight, slowly turn your head to the right. Stop when you feel a stretch in your neck and shoulder and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.
Slowly bring your head back forward and repeat the process with your left side. Perform as many as 10 sets.
For the forward-back tilt, start with your head resting over your shoulders. Your back should also be straight. Lower your chin toward your chest and hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
Then, slowly lift your head back up. Bring your chin up toward the ceiling, with your head falling toward your back. Hold for 10 seconds, then return to the starting position.
Repeat these motions several times.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I sleep to avoid neck pain?
We recommend sleeping on your sides or back to avoid a sore neck. Stomach sleeping puts unnecessary stress on the neck because a person has to twist their neck to the side to breathe. Remember, a side sleeper’s mattress should have a soft to medium feel, and a mattress for back sleeping should have a medium to firm feel.
Why do I wake up with neck pain and a headache?
Are you waking up with a sore head and neck? The most likely reason is that your pillow has gone bad. A pillow that’s lost support leaves your neck muscles straining to support your head. Meanwhile, a good pillow keeps the neck’s spine aligned.
It could also be a sign that you need a new, more supportive mattress, particularly if you’re waking up with back pain or a feeling of fatigue. You often wake up tired and in pain If your mattress isn’t providing a good night’s rest.
Can sleeping on a bad mattress cause shoulder pain?
Yes, sleeping on a mattress can lead to morning shoulder pain if the bed doesn’t sufficiently cushion the joint for pressure relief. How much pressure relief is needed depends on the position. Side sleepers need more pressure relief because their shoulders are supporting their bodies.
Firmness is a crucial consideration. A too soft or too-firm mattress can disrupt the shoulders’ alignment.
Should I sleep without a pillow if my neck hurts?
Most people won’t benefit from sleeping without a pillow if their neck is sore. A good pillow bridges the gap between your neck and the mattress surface. Closing this gap prevents your neck muscles from straining themselves while you sleep.
Stomach sleepers might sleep better without a pillow because a pillow can tilt their necks too far upward. However, if you’re a stomach sleeper, the better way to alleviate neck pain is to change position. Stomach sleepers have to twist their necks in an uncomfortable position for hours at a time to breathe, which can worsen existing neck pain.
How do you know if neck pain is serious?
Neck pain can be just a sign you slept in a bad position or overexerted yourself. However, it can signify a severe condition if:
- Numbness or reduced strength in your arms and hands accompanies your neck pain.
- You experience shooting pain down your shoulders and arms.
- Your pain only worsens over time instead of fading away.
- You’ve recently experienced a traumatic accident, such as a whiplash injury.
- Your legs feel weak and you have difficulty urinating.
- You also have a fever or unexplained weight loss.
Neck pain is far from uncommon. Aroundof adults experience neck pain severe enough to impede their daily lives. The same article also notes that 10 to 20 percent of adults will report neck pain symptoms “at any given time.” The right mattress can keep you from counting yourself among these numbers.
If your neck pain doesn’t decrease over time, it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor. That way, you can discuss potential causes and treatments.