Woman smiling as she lies in bed holding a pillow

Pillows have been used to improve the sleep experience since 7,000 B.C. Comfortable and cozy, they make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. They may even have the power to prevent, or alleviate, discomfort in the back and neck.

However, not all pillows create the exquisite sleep experience we all want. In fact, the wrong pillow can create, or exacerbate, neck pain and stiffness. Are pillows bad for your neck?

It depends. The key is in selecting a pillow that will make sleep easier on your neck, not worse. Here is a look at the elements of a pillow that can impact your neck, and some ideas for selecting one that will help you sleep well, and live better, every single night.

Pillow Support

Woman lying comfortably in bed, head resting on pillow 

Certain ultra-soft pillows feel comfortable at the beginning of the night. Sinking down into a cloud of softness can be a rewarding experience at the end of a long day. However, pillows that are soft, without also being supportive, can be bad for your neck. Over the course of the night, the feathers or other fillers in the pillows can shift, leaving you without support and straining your neck muscles over the course of the evening.

Instead of looking for the softest pillow you can find, look for a mix of comfort and support. For example, our Emozione pillow is crafted from our Regen material that fits to the shape of the pillow, provides support, and reduces pressure on the neck. Pillows made from supportive materials will not shift or sink overnight but instead will support firmly and consistently for as long as you are in bed. And that means your neck will feel better all throughout the next day, too.

Pillow Angle

 A man resting comfortably in bed, holding a pillow

The extent to which your pillow supports your neck is not the only factor that makes a good pillow or a bad pillow for your neck. You should also take into account the angle at which your neck rests during the night.

Pillows that tuck your neck too closely to your chin, or conversely, overextend your neck while you sleep, can add to the tension your body already experiences after a day of looking at a computer or smartphone, slouching, or engaging in other common, but physically stressful, habits.

The pillow that keeps your neck at the correct angle will vary from person to person, mostly depending upon how they sleep. For example, an individual who sleeps on their back usually benefits from a low pillow that provides support to the lower neck. On the other hand, a stomach sleeper may need a flat pillow (or no pillow at all) and a side sleeper may require a higher pillow to keep their neck and spine aligned.

Pillow Versatility

Close-up of an elderly woman sleeping peacefully 

Since what constitutes restful, rewarding sleep is so individual, the best pillows for health are those that are versatile and can provide personalized support depending upon the sleeper's needs.

For example, here at Dorelan, many of our pillows are designed to form to the shape of your neck while gently aligning your spine for maximum comfort. For example, our Armonioso pillow offers orthopedic cervical contouring, while the Sorriso comes in 3 different heights, and the Volonta allows you to choose between a higher and a lower side.

A pillow that can adjust to meet your sleep needs, regardless of the position you choose, has the best chance of keeping your neck stable, aligned, and comfortable, not just at night but all throughout the next day.

Mattress Firmness

View from above of a young woman sleeping on a foam pillow

Chances are you never considered matching your pillow and your mattress before. However, the mattress you choose can have an effect on which pillows are best for your health.

For example, a firm mattress may require a thick pillow to support your head, since your body will not sink as far into the mattress, leaving you more elevated on the bed.

Conversely, a soft or memory foam mattress may mean you should invest in a thinner or lower pillow to accommodate the extent to which your body will sink into the adaptable material of your mattress.

Dorelan mattresses are thoughtfully designed for maximum comfort and support, no matter what your sleep needs are. Exquisite mattress support combined with an intelligently designed and supportive pillow can create the type of sleep that is good for your neck (and the rest of your body).

Ready to discover the pillow that best fits your sleep needs? Let Dorelan help with the pillow options that are designed to be supportive, comfortable, and ideal for the health and wellness of your neck.


The average person spends 33 years of their life sleeping. Sleeping well makes us feel better, more alert, energetic, and better able to concentrate and perform. Getting quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health and wellbeing. Read our magazine for the ultimate guide to a good night’s rest!