If you’ve ever fallen asleep while on a plane and woken up with a stiff neck and perhaps a headache, you will understand how a well-designed neck pillow can be very useful. By providing support around your neck, your head will only tip so far to one side or the other. The human head is heavy, and without support, that weight can cause problems in your neck if you fall asleep sitting up.
Your neck muscles can become fatigued, which leads to muscle spasms. Your neck and spine are not aligned, which could cause discs to herniate and press on nerves. Muscle strain can also cause headaches. When your head isn’t supported, you also don’t breathe as well as you normally would. You could snore, which means poor quality sleep.
While neck pillows are great for travel, they can also be used to support your neck while you watch TV, work at a computer, or play video games. With the number of hours we all spend sitting in front of a screen, we often get neck strain because we don’t sit up straight with good posture. Using a neck pillow will remind you to keep your spine aligned. It prevents slouching or leaning forward.
Many people also use neck pillows when they sleep in a bed, especially if they have neck injuries or wake with a stiff neck. Wearing a neck pillow makes sure you don’t sleep in a poor position. It helps you breathe more freely, too, so people who snore or have sleep apnea may benefit from a neck pillow.
• Cushion neck pillows that provide support on the back and sides are great for adults who want to sleep on planes or while riding in a car.
• Neck cushions designed for children also provide front support so that if they fall asleep and their head falls forward, their head stays relatively upright.
• Wearing a neck pillow can help you breathe better whether you wear it while traveling or even while sleeping in a bed.
• Using a neck pillow while sitting in front of a computer screen or TV can help maintain proper posture and prevent neck strain or injury.
• Some cover materials are cooler than others. Choosing a pillow with a more breathable fabric cover will help prevent you from overheating.
• Some experts recommend choosing a neck pillow with a similar feel to the bed pillow type you prefer. Some people like firmer pillows, for example, and might prefer a firmer neck pillow.
How Do Neck Pillows Help While Travelling?
If you would like to nap while on a plane, wearing a neck support pillow permits you to lean to one side or the other without putting your neck in an uncomfortable and unhealthy position. Without support, you can develop muscle tension or strain in your neck. You can even herniate a disc, especially if you have had prior problems with neck discs. For children, especially young ones, neck pillows are essential whenever they ride in a car, bus, train, or plane.
Children often fall asleep while on long car rides or flights. If they are very young or just very tired, they may fall asleep driving home from the grocery store. When that happens, their head flops over to the side or the front, and without a neck pillow, that puts tremendous strain on their neck muscles.
If a car hits potholes or rough pavement, the child’s head can bounce around and potentially cause damage to the neck or head. A child’s neck pillow for travel should cushion the head in all directions rather than just the back and sides.
How Can Neck Pillows Help at Home or Work?
Travel pillows are great, but the same cushions can be worn while working at a computer for hours. The longer you sit in the same position, the worse your posture will be. A travel neck pillow can help you maintain proper posture so you don’t strain your neck. Strain in your neck can lead to back strain and headaches. You can also use these travel neck support pillows while watching TV or playing video games.
Some people use their travel pillow while sleeping at night, too. By supporting their neck, they help prevent or heal neck injuries. They also might use a pillow to prevent snoring or sleep apnea. By keeping their neck in a good position, their throat and airway also are stable.
7 Top Picks for Comfy Neck Support
#1) BCOZZY Neck Pillow for Travel - Double Support for Head, Neck, and Chin
The BCOZZY Neck Pillow for traveling provides 360 degrees of support for adults. The unique double support design and Velcro closure mean if your head should fall forward while you sleep sitting up, your head remains supported in the front.
• The neck pillow’s cover is made from breathable and soft microsuede cover. The pillow has down-like filling for comfortable support for your neck while you travel.
• This neck pillow for travel is 100% washable. Just put the entire pillow into a washing machine.
• The BCOZZY comes in 26 different colors or patterns. Even if you’re an adult, you might like some of the animal designs.
• The snap loop strap and clip are great for attaching the pillow to a car seat, a backpack, or a suitcase.
• The pillow provides complete support but fits into a convenient carry-sack.
• Unlike the traditional U-shaped neck pillows with an open front, this one supports you all the way around. You can rest your chin on it.
The BCOZZY Neck Pillow is great for supporting your chin if your head should fall forward. Many neck pillows provide back and side support only because they are U-shaped. This one holds your head securely even if the plane hits turbulent air, or a train or bus rocks and jerks while you sleep. The 360-degree support also make this great for maintaining proper neck posture while at work.
The Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel pillow attaches to your seat back, so it stays in place. It is made from memory foam and helps keep your spine aligned while you travel. This doctor-recommended travel pillow was featured on CNN and has won awards for the Best Travel Pillow. It's compact while in its travel bag but full-sized and comfortable once you take it out.
• The high-quality memory foam conforms to your neck and head for extra comfort while you sleep in a plane or car.
• The S3 travel pillow reduces in size by half when you place it back in its bag.
• The adjustable clasp in the front allows a great fit for different neck sizes.
• The straps are designed for you to attach the pillow directly to the seat back or chair, so the chair helps with your stability.
• The cover is removable and completely machine washable.
• Attach the Cabeau Evolution to your desk chair, so it's available to use whenever you want extra neck support while you work. No need to go looking for it when you need it.
• Users can fold the pillow in half and use it to completely support the head while sleeping on one side. Using it this way keeps the head more vertical.
The Cabeau Evolution Pillow is great because it straps in place on your car or plane seat, or office chair, so it's there whenever you need it. The memory foam and adjustable clasp make this doctor-recommended neck pillow a comfortable choice. The straps can also be useful for attaching it to your carry-on bags, and the compact size makes it ideal for travel.
The Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow by Dot & Dot does more than support your neck while you sleep in a car or plane. The unique twist design makes the pillow adjustable, so you can customize it to use for neck, chin, lumbar, or leg support. You can bend it into the shape you need and use the snap closures to secure it in place.
• The breathable and comfortable cotton cover can be removed for washing. The memory foam is supportive but soft and springy.
• The universal size fits any adult, and the travel pillow comes in light or dark gray, light or dark blue, or black.
• The snap closure can be used to secure the support around your neck or to connect it to a seat or a travel bag for easy carrying.
• This neck pillow can be arranged and secured to provide one-sided neck support so you can side sleep in a plane or car.
• By using the roll without bending it, you get lumbar support in a desk chair or car.
• The Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow also works well as a leg support. Many people with back problems benefit from keeping their knees and legs parallel while they sleep. Some use a body pillow, but when you travel, you can wrap this pillow around a knee instead.
The Dot & Dot Twist Memory Foam Travel Pillow is great because it has multiple uses. Its bendability makes it easy to customize to anyone’s needs. You can use it as a traditional neck pillow, wrapped around the neck and kept in place with the snap, or fold it in half and support your head on the side. You can use it for a lumbar support while working or driving or leg support while sleeping. By using it as a roll, you can support your neck or lower back while you do floor exercises.
The Cloudz Microbead Neck Pillow has multiple uses, and the microbeads adjust and conform to your body in all positions. In addition to using it as a neck support while working at a computer or sleeping upright while traveling, the pillow works for lumbar support and a massage table face cushion.
• The pillow is filled with ultra-premium comfortlite microbeads that won’t break down like others tend to do. They move and adjust to your body to provide comfortable but secure support.
• This neck pillow has two different cover materials to give you a choice. Side one is soft plush, and side two is a smoother and more flexible spandex.
• The Cloudz comes in 20 different colors or patterns, including some whimsical designs like stars and stripes, unicorns, airplanes, flamingos, and even a "Welcome to Las Vegas" version.
• Use this pillow for your neck or to support your lower back when sitting for long periods. It’s an ideal shape and size to support your lumbar region.
• Use the pillow when you get a massage, too. It works great on the massage table as your face pillow.
• The snap closure allows you to attach the pillow under your chin or to a car seat, a backpack, or a suitcase.
The Cloudz Microbead Travel Neck Pillow is great because of the microbeads that move to conform to your body. These microbeads are of superior quality and won't break up into small bits as you use the pillow. The two sides provide different surfaces for individual tastes. When you aren’t using it to support your neck, move it to your back for lumbar support. Have fun choosing between all the fun colors and designs.
The BCOZZY Neck Pillow for traveling is designed for children. The sizes fit children, supporting not only their necks on the sides but also their chin in the front. The unique double support design and Velcro closure mean the child's head is supported on all sides. The choice of bright colors and fun patterns make these a great choice for kids.
• The breathable and soft microsuede cover and down-like filling provide comfortable support for your child’s neck while in a car seat or plane.
• This child’s neck pillow for travel is 100% washable. You can put the entire pillow into a washing machine. Children using it in a car seat can easily get the pillow dirty or sticky, so this is a great feature.
• The BCOZZY comes in 26 different colors or patterns, including some fun animal designs that appeal to children like a koala, panda, unicorn, dog, cat, or hippo.
• There are four sizes: the small fits children from ages 3-7, the medium fits ages 8-12, and the large and extra-large are great for teens.
• Children often fall asleep while traveling and the double support, meaning the front and back of the neck are cushioned, means children sleep safely and comfortably. Their head doesn't fall forward or flop around with the vehicle's movement.
• The pillow provides complete support but fits into a convenient carry-sac
• The snap loop strap and clip allow you to attach the pillow to a car seat, a backpack, or a suitcase
The BCOZZY Neck Pillow is great for kids because of the fun designs and complete support for their necks. When children fall asleep, their heads can fall back, to the side, or forward. The BCOZZY prevents this, keeping a child's head up and his neck protected when a car hits rough road or a plane turbulent air. Not all neck pillows fit children, and the two smallest sizes work for children as young as 3.
#6) Huzi Infinity Pillow - Home Travel Soft Neck Scarf
The Huzi Infinity Pillow is like a fashion item called an infinity scarf. It’s long and flexible, so you can arrange it and use it in an infinite number of ways. The infinity pillow supports all resting positions from window leaning to desktop sleeping. It’s soft and comfortable and has many uses for home, office, and travel use, from neck support to noise muffling.
• The patented pillow is more like a long, very wide, and cushioned scarf you can fold and arrange to support your head and neck anywhere you choose.
• The material, a breathable, cool bamboo material, is machine washable.
• The Infinity neck pillow comes in 7 colors: gray, pink, red, burgundy, navy, sunset orange, and terracotta.
• The cloud-like softness supports your neck and chin if you wrap the scarf around your neck.
• You can arrange it to provide more support on one side so you can sleep against the window or on your companion's shoulder.
• By wrapping one end around your neck and threading the other between your arms, you can comfortably rest on a desktop or airline tray.
• Airplane engines or other noises in your environment can be effectively muffled by wrapping the scarf around your ears and head.
• Use this pillow while reclining on a sofa to watch TV or nap. Using a small pillow and this wrap keeps everything aligned as it should be.
• Wrap the scarf around a leg or drape it between your knees to keep your legs parallel and your back straight while you sleep in a bed
The Huzi Infinity Neck Pillow has been positively reviewed by many publications, from Travel & Leisure to the New Yorker. It has so many uses and is soft, cooling, and comfortable. The scarf rolls up and cinches shut for carrying, or you can wrap it around the handles of your rolling luggage. Cancel noise, have a nap on your desk, or support your neck while you work or watch TV.
The Inflatable Travel Neck Pillow by BestMax is the most portable because it’s easy to inflate and deflate. It folds down into a miniature carry case that doesn’t take up much room and can be clipped onto a bag or purse. When inflated, it also has a great pocket for your smartphone.
• The inflatable pillow has an easy-to-use, one-way valve for inflating and deflating it. It takes two or three puffs to blow the pillow up, and you just push a button and squeeze it to flatten it again.
• Once it's inflated, there's a convenient pocket for your cell phone. By slipping your smartphone into it, you can listen to music or books while you wear the neck support. The phone ends upright by your ear.
• Use the valve to adjust the pillow to your preferred firmness. Puff a little more air in or press the button to release some air.
• When it's folded down, it fits in a small carrying pouch with an alligator-type clip so you can attach it to a purse or bag.
• These are ideal for backpackers and campers.
• The flat back side of the pillow lets you rest your head back comfortably.
• Instead of using it to support your neck while you travel, you can use it to support your face on a massage table or desktop or as a lumbar support when you sit.
• The cover, made from a soft micro velvet, zips on and off the pillow for easy cleaning.
• The inflatable neck pillow comes in a deep gray, a blue with a cat design, and seasonally, a holiday version in red with Santa and his sleigh.
The BestMax Inflatable Neck Pillow is great because it is extremely portable. When it's collapsed, the pillow fits into a small case with a clip so you can carry it attached to a purse, backpack, or travel bag. It's fast and easy to inflate and deflate. It's great for supporting your neck while you sleep sitting up but can also support your face as you rest on a desk or table. It’s a convenient lumbar support, too. You can adjust the firmness easily by adding or letting out air.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I wear a neck pillow to help with neck pain?
Some people wear neck pillows even when they’re not traveling. If you tend to get headaches or a stiff neck when you work, or if you have disc problems in your neck, a travel pillow can certainly help. You can more easily maintain good neck and head posture. Most of us tend to forget about posture when sitting in front of a computer for hours. Occasionally wearing a neck pillow can help remind us and also take some pressure off neck muscles.
Are there any cons to using a neck pillow?
You may have to spend some time and money finding the right pillow for you. Everybody is different, so you might go through a couple of fails before finding a travel pillow that works for you. Many experts recommend memory foam or beaded pillows for their patients because they support your body structure but try different kinds until you find what you like. Make sure that children use pillows that are designed for their age and size.