The style of pillow you choose can improve your rest, but your sleep position also plays a role. If you lie on your side or back, congratulations: These are the best positions for neck pain, while lying on your stomach is the worst.
Whatever position you like best, be sure to choose a pillow that supports the natural shape of your cervical spine.
Back sleepers. You want your neck to have support, but you don’t want it propped up. Consider a contoured model designed for this position. You can also try using a roll-shaped one at your neck, with a soft, flat one to support your head.
Side sleepers. To keep your spine straight, use a pillow that provides the right neck support — one that’s higher under your neck than under your head. It should be thick enough to hold your head up and also firm enough that your head doesn’t sink down into it. Latex pillows give you support but don’t overheat like memory foam can. A contoured pillow is designed for the job.
Stomach sleepers. Skip the neck pillow and use a thin one to keep your spine as straight as possible.
Sleeping on the go. If you plan to doze on a plane or on a road trip — or even in a recliner — try a horseshoe-shaped pillow. These support your neck so it doesn’t droop or jolt to one side.