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When you wake up with a headache (and you didn’t even party last night) and with a stiff neck, chances are your pillow is working against you.
Don’t worry though:
You can quickly swap it for a new one and start enjoying your restful, pain-free slumber. Luckily, there are multiple options among the best pillows for neck pain and headaches in Australia, and we are going to guide you through them today. Let’s get started!
A Quick Preview
Best Overall – Editor’s Pick
Sleeping Duck Pillow
|Type: proprietary AntiGravity foam|
Dimensions: 40 x 60 x 9.5 cm
Warranty and returns: 100-night guarantee
|Shop Now on Sleepingduck.com|
Read more about this mattress
Best for Combination Sleepers
|Type: memory foam|
Dimensions: 45 x 65 x 12 cm
Warranty and returns: 2-year guarantee
|Shop Now on Ergoflex.com.au|
Read more about this mattress
Best Washable Foam Pillow
|Type: memory foam|
Dimensions: 59 x 41 x 15 cm
Warranty and returns: 100-night sleep trial
|Shop Now on Sommuto.com.au|
Read more about this mattress
Our Reviews of the Best Pillows for Neck Pain in Australia
Best Overall – Editor’s Pick — Sleeping Duck Pillow
- proprietary AntiGravity foam to provide stress relief and to achieve a feeling of weightlessness during the night;
- 100-night guarantee to protect your investment;
- medium loft to accommodate a wide range of users and different sleeping positions;
- small air channels for improved breathability;
- safer manufacturing technique makes this pillow a healthier option than regular foam models.
To start this list of the best pillows for neck pain and headaches in Australia, allow me to share this unique find. This foam pillow by Sleeping Duck might look ordinary, but it hides a lot under the cover. The Sleeping Duck uses its proprietary AntiGravity foam to achieve a unique feel and the highest comfort levels. The material feels like a fusion of memory foam and latex. It is molding and pressure-relieving but has a rather resilient feel and a springy texture. It will gently cradle your head and neck but support them at the same time, resulting in a heavenly pleasant feeling of weightlessness. Chances are, it will reduce the strain from your neck and might help relieve the pain.
Another thing I like about this pillow is its thickness. Being 9.5 cm tall, the Sleeping Duck seems to have reached that golden middle. It’s neither too thick nor too flat. Such a moderate loft would work for a wide range of sleepers. As a combination sleeper myself, I have to say that I felt completely comfortable in both scenarios: on my back and on my side (as I usually put my arm under the pillow when lying on one side, this gave the Sleeping Duck even more loft).
- Uses proprietary materials to achieve a unique feel (supportive and pressure-relieving at the same time);
- Sleeps neutral, great news for hot sleepers;
- Medium loft, would suit different users and sleeping positions;
- Springs back fast and doesn’t make you feel trapped;
- 100-night guarantee for your peace of mind;
- Made locally using a safer manufacturing process than regular memory foam, can be a good option for eco-conscious shoppers.
- Might not be thick enough for side sleepers who prefer loftier pillows;
- The pillow is not washable and allows for spot-cleaning only, which may disappoint some users (although you can remove and wash the cover).
Best for Combination Sleepers — Ergoflex
- high-density visco-elastic memory foam for ergonomic support;
- Tencel cover for increased breathability;
- 2-year guarantee to ensure the best performance;
- firm feel for reliable support and to prevent premature sagging;
- proprietary hypoallergenic materials, safe for the skin and sensitive sleepers.
Moving on to the next item on our list of Australia’s best pillows for neck pain and headaches, the Ergoflex memory foam pillow. What makes this model stand out from the crowd is its smart filling that would work for pretty much any user or sleeping position. The thing is, the Ergoflex high-density foam is a very adaptive material. It molds to the neck and head curves and responds to the applied pressure according to its intensity. As a result, the pillow can support sleepers in different positions equally well. It will compress more when needed (for instance, when you are lying on your back) or fill in the curves for proper support (which would come in handy for side sleepers). This may also help achieve pressure relief that can lead to pain alleviation.
The Ergoflex has a bit more to offer than just adaptability. This memory foam pillow uses a smooth, natural Tencel cover. It has a cellular fiber construction that allows for high breathability levels and helps sleepers remain sweat-free during the night. There is also an extra inner cover to protect the pillow and to increase its lifespan. You can remove the Tencel cover and wash it to keep your Ergoflex pillow fresh
- Proprietary foam for ergonomic support and reliable performance;
- Breathable Tencel cover, super soft and pleasant to the touch;
- Adaptive and would work for different sleeping positions and body types;
- Firm feel for reliable support, isn’t likely to lose its resilience fast;
- Comes with a two-year warranty and protects every shopper’s investment.
- Might seem too firm for some sleepers, especially those who prefer plushy feather-like pillows;
- Can be too thick for straight stomach sleepers (should be fine if you lie on your stomach only from time to time).
Best Washable Foam Pillow — Somnio
- air channels for proper air circulation and cooler sleep;
- molded construction for ergonomic support;
- offers a gentle hug for superb pressure relief;
- dust mite resistant and hypoallergenic, suited even for sensitive users;
- washable design for effortless maintenance and an always fresh sleeping environment.
If you are prone to allergies or simply want to sleep on a clean, safe pillow, the Somnio might be your “perfect match”. This model deserves to be among Australia’s best pillows for neck pain and headaches for many reasons, but its washable design is probably among the main ones. It gives users a chance to maintain their pillow clean and allergen-free by simply throwing it into the washing machine once in a while. And because the Somnio is a 100% memory foam pillow, it will effectively mold to your head and neck, cradle them, and reduce pressure. It’s a great pillow for fast tension release that has the potential to rid you of neck pain and headaches for good.
Another thing you might appreciate is the internal structure of the Somnia. We all know that memory foam tends to trap heat, but the Somnia eliminates the issue thanks to the air channels going through the pillow all across its surface. These air channels promote proper air circulation and allow your skin to breathe during the night. Chances are, you won’t sleep hot when using the Somnia.
Additionally, there’s great news for allergy sufferers. This pillow is resistant to dust mites (as the foam is too dense and breathable, which creates unfavorable conditions for the dust mites). And it comes without a cover, so you can pick whichever fabric type that works for you the best.
- Washable, easy to keep clean and fresh;
- Adaptive and molding material, great for pressure alleviation;
- Doesn’t trap heat like regular memory foam thanks to the air channels;
- Hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, safe to use even for allergy-prone sleepers.
- Too thick for stomach sleepers;
- Comes without a cover, which might disappoint some shoppers (although you can use this as a chance to pick your perfect cover fabric).
How Can a Pillow Cause Neck Pain and Headaches?The reason behind your morning headaches and neck stiffness can be simple. You see, your neck and head spend hours in pretty much the same position when you sleep (if we don’t account for a few occasional movements and turns). Naturally, if that position isn’t healthy, it may cause a significant strain on your neck and head, which can lead to painful symptoms. And, naturally, if your pillow doesn’t work for your sleeping position, you can end up with an awkward, unhealthy sleeping posture. But how do you know that your trusty old pillow isn’t a good match? Well, here’s what you should look out for;
- It’s not supportive. Your pillow might feel like a cloud, but if it doesn’t support your head and allows it to kind of fall down into the filling material, you may end up with neck pain and a headache. Your head needs to be supported during the night so that it would align properly with your neck and spine, maintaining a healthy sleeping posture (1).
- It is overly thick. An extra lofty pillow would raise your head too much and tilt it forward. As a result, there’s too much tension in the neck muscles that can later cause neck stiffness and headaches. Again, your head should be aligned with the neck and spine rather than be elevated when lying on the pillow.
- It’s too thin. If your pillow is too flat for your sleeping position and doesn’t support the natural curve of the neck (2), it can allow the head to fall down and create an unwanted curve in the neck. This curve can put too much strain on the muscles and may lead to unpleasant symptoms.
- It is lumpy. A lumpy pillow cannot guarantee uniform support and hence, won’t allow for proper alignment. Plus, lumpy pillows are very uncomfortable and can easily ruin one’s sleep.
What Is the Best Type of Pillows for Neck Pain and Headaches?
There are many top-rated pillows for headaches and neck stiffness in Australia, but to find the best one, you need to understand which filling type would meet your expectations and requirements.
So, here are the most common pillow types that are typically used to soothe neck pain and headaches:
- Memory foam. Being among the best pillows in Australia (and the most popular ones), memory foam pillows can deliver both proper support and gentle pressure relief thanks to the adaptive properties of this material. Memory foam reacts to body heat and molds to its curves. Such pillows are rather affordable and widely available, so they can cater to different types of sleepers. However, you need to remember that memory foam can trap body heat, so if you are a hot sleeper, choose models with air chambers or the ones infused with cooling gel particles.
- Polyfoam. Polyfoam is a bit more resilient than memory foam, which means it bounces back faster after the pressure is applied. Additionally, polyfoam pillows are slightly less cradling than memory foam and don’t result in that notorious quicksand feeling. However, polyfoam also tends to trap heat. Moreover, this material is less durable than memory foam.
- Latex. Natural latex is cooling, hypoallergenic, dust mite resistant, and durable. Latex pillows offer bouncy support and decent pressure relief without enveloping too much around your head and neck. Latex is a pricey material, but many users choose it for its natural origin and sustainability. However, synthetic latex is quite widespread too and possesses pretty much the same qualities (except for the natural background, of course).
- Feathers or down. Both feathers and down are extremely soft and offer close conforming. Such pillows are lightweight and often allow for customization (meaning you can either change their shape or adjust the amount of filling). Many users choose down or feather pillows because they are natural and free of chemicals. However, you need to remember that such models are quite expensive. Also, they tend to get compressed and lose their loft over time. Such pillows require regular fluffing up, which might seem finicky to some users. And let’s not forget that some sleepers are allergic to this type of pillow filling (although there are synthetic options available that use polyester fibers instead).
- Buckwheat. Another eco-friendly filling type, buckwheat shells are known for their ability to deliver reliable, firm support for the head and heck. The shells interlock on their own, which means buckwheat pillows can hold their shape pretty well and support you properly all through the night. Nevertheless, buckwheat pillows can take time to get used to, as this filling type is firmer than others. They are also pricier. At the same time, you get a safe, natural, and breathable pillow for the money, so many sleepers note it’s worth every penny.
How to Shop Like a Pro: Factors to Bear in Mind When Searching for the Best Pillow for Neck Pain and Headaches
So, are you ready to start shopping for a great pillow for neck pain and headaches in Australia?
Well, you will be ready after you’ve read our buyer’s guide.
The thing is, preparing beforehand and doing a little research can help you make the wisest choice. And since we have done the research for you, all you need to do is consider the following factors when browsing through pillow options:
- Filling type. There are always advantages (and downsides, of course) of each pillow type. You just need to decide which one would make you the happiest. For instance, if you want a naturally cooling pillow that would deliver excellent support, go with latex. If you don’t mind the firmer feel (and a slightly noisy pillow), you can also try buckwheat. If you require something cushioning and more cradling, memory foam or even polyfoam should work perfectly. And for cloud-like sensation, feathers and down suit the best.
- Loft (thickness). This one should be determined by your sleeping position. For instance, pillows for side sleepers (the most popular option, by the way) should be lofty enough to fill in the space between the head and the shoulder while supporting the neck and its natural curve. Back sleepers are advised to pick thinner pillows, as the gap between the heck and the mattress surface isn’t that big when you are lying on your back. As for stomach sleepers, they can sleep even without one. But if you still require some cushioning for your head, give your preference to softer, flat pillows that wouldn’t raise your head too far when sleeping (3). As for combination sleepers, a medium pillow (in terms of both loft and firmness level) should suffice.
- Cover. Your pillow cover matters because it can affect your sleep. For example, natural fabrics like cotton, Tencel, or bamboo are breathable and great at wicking moisture away, meaning they can help you sleep cooler. Synthetic polyester covers are cheaper and easier to care for but aren’t that good for proper air circulation. You can also consider a blend (natural + synthetic). It can be a good compromise between quality and affordability, but make sure there’s more of the natural component. Also, some pillows come with removable covers. Such models are easier to wash and to keep fresh. If the pillow has loose filling, you can also unzip the cover and adjust the loft for improved comfort.
- Support. A supportive pillow has to conform to and fill in the curves to support the neck properly. It shouldn’t be overly soft either. I know it might be challenging to find a model that would support you perfectly, as this factor depends on your body type. Therefore, you might want to opt for a pillow that comes with a sleep trial (just to be on the safe side).
- Firmness. Going hand in hand with support, the firmness level of the pillow will determine how good (or bad) your head and neck are going to feel. An overly firm pillow can create pressure points, especially for side sleepers (in the ear area). And an extra plushy model will not deliver enough support (unless you’re a stomach sleeper).
- Shape. You can get a regular pillow or you can consider a cervical one. The latter has a curved design with a special roll in the neck section for ergonomic support. Often labeled “orthopedic”, such pillows provide an extra loft for the neck to fill in its natural curve. They usually work great for back and side sleepers (although you need a loftier option for the latter).
- Budget. Often, the price can affect the durability, so try to avoid overly cheap pillows. Remember that latex and natural down/feather models are usually among the priciest ones. Buckwheat pillows can be pricey as well. Memory foam and polyfoam are more affordable, although they tend to last less than latex.
Can a bad pillow make my headaches and neck pain worse?
Yes. If your pillow makes your neck and head rest in an unhealthy position all night long, chances are it can exacerbate the symptoms.
What is the best pillow for tension headaches?
The best pillow type for tension headaches is the one able to deliver instant pressure relief. Memory foam and latex pillows could be an excellent solution in this case.
Is a firm or a soft pillow better for neck pain?
The best pillow firmness is the one that suits your body. For instance, the heavier your head is, the firmer your pillow should be. Finding the ideal firmness level might require a little experimentation, so pillows that come with a sleep trial would be perfect in this scenario.
Is it better to sleep without a pillow for neck pain and headaches?
Generally, no. If you are a strict stomach sleeper, you should be fine without a pillow. For everyone else, a pillow is required to maintain healthy alignment of the head, neck, and spine (which often leads to pain relief, especially if the symptoms were caused by a bad pillow).
When should I replace my pillow?
Pillows should be replaced every 1-2 years. However, you can also ditch your old pillow as soon as it develops lumps and sags or starts feeling unsupportive.
A good pillow for neck pain and headaches isn’t that easy to come by, that’s true.
But you still have plenty of options.
And when trying to pick the best one, don’t forget to pay extra attention to the thickness and firmness (while keeping your most favorite sleeping position in mind). Check what the manufacturer uses as a filling and make sure you will be okay with that type of material. And of course, factor in the cover fabric.
Not sure what you want? Then allow me to share my favorite pillow by Sleeping Duck. I have to admit, it made me feel like I’ve never felt before. My head was weightless all through the night. All of the tension was gone and I felt perfectly relaxed. At the same time, my neck and head were aligned properly, and I woke up pain-free. To me, that’s like winning a lottery!
So, do you want to try it yourself? And how long have you been dealing with neck pain and headaches? Let us know in the comments below!
- Health Engine (April 12, 2019). Sleeping Positions: How to sleep (and how not to). Retrieved from https://healthengine.com.au/info/sleeping-positions-sleep-not
- Scott Curtis (August 15, 2019). Sleeping with Neck Pain: What You Need to Know. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/blog/sleeping-neck-pain-what-you-need-know
- Chris Barnes (n.d.). How to buy the best pillow. Retrieved from https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/bedroom/pillows/buying-guide/pillows
Hours of Research
Sleep Experts Consulted