A quick look at the best pillows for migraine

The average person spends about one-third of their life sleeping. That means a supportive and comfortable sleep setup is super important — for everyone.

But for people with migraine, sleeping well can be a challenging feat because migraine and sleep disorders are often connected. According to a 2020 research review, insomnia may trigger migraine episodes and make them more intense.

Those who experience migraine may also have a higher risk of developing insomnia. That makes it all the more important to fight for a good night’s sleep.

While a pillow may not be a cure for migraine, it can help. After all, the last thing anyone with migraine needs is a pillow poorly impacting their cervical alignment, causing more head and neck pain. This can lead to more difficulty sleeping, which, as we’ve learned, may be a risk factor for migraine onset.

To help avoid this cycle, it’s important to find a pillow that works for you, supports your spinal alignment, and doesn’t add to your pain.

We’re here to help with a cheat sheet of the best pillows for people with migraine. Whether you’re looking for something soft and cozy or firm and cooling, we’ve got you covered.

Types of pillows

Before we dive in, here’s a quick rundown of the different types of pillows you’ll see on our list.

Memory foam

Memory foam pillows react to pressure and heat, contouring to fit your head and neck when you lie on them. That can help minimize neck pain.

These pillows are made from either a solid piece of polyurethane foam or shredded foam. Solid foam will be firmer, while shredded foam is a happy medium between firm and squishy.


When you think of a soft, comfy pillow, you probably don’t think of buckwheat.

But stay with us! Pillows filled with buckwheat hulls (the outer shells of buckwheat seeds) can be surprisingly comfortable. They conform to the shape of your head and neck, evenly distributing weight.

Since buckwheat is all-natural, there’s no risk of the smelly off-gassing that can sometimes happen with foam — a huge plus if scents are one of your migraine triggers.

Buckwheat pillows are also super breathable and can last longer than some other types of pillows. And when it’s time for a new pillow, you can rest assured that buckwheat hulls are fully compostable.


Acupressure is an ancient practice used to treat pain, including headaches. Acupressure pillows have raised spikes that apply constant pressure as you rest.

While acupressure pillows take some getting used to, trying one may be worthwhile. A 2019 study of people with migraine found that self-administered acupressure helped reduce fatigue.


Water pillows are somewhat unconventional but can be super comfy. They’re also pretty customizable — you can control the firmness by adding or removing water.

Since they don’t have a high profile, they’re great for back sleepers.

How we chose the best migraine pillows

While looking for the best pillows for people with migraine, we considered:

  • Price: We’ve included pillows across price ranges to make sure we recommend pillows for every budget.
  • Support: Pillows that are too fluffy may not offer enough support, so all the pillows on our list are at least medium-firm.
  • Materials: We looked for pillows made with materials known for their contouring ability to support cervical alignment and keep their shape, which can help prevent and reduce neck pain. We’ve also included some pillows with cooling effects, which may offer some relief and help regulate your body temperature for better sleep.
  • Reviews from people with migraine: All our pillow picks have positive reviews from people who experience migraine.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $30
  • $$ = $30–$60
  • $$$ = over $60

Healthline’s picks for the best pillows for migraine

Best pillows for migraine relief

Best memory foam pillow

Tempur-Neck Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Pillow sizes offered: small, medium, large
  • Why we love it: This memory foam pillow offers support for both back and side sleepers. It comes in three sizes so that you can customize it to your needs. Plus, it’s highly rated by reviewers who deal with migraine.

It’s a firm pillow that contours to your head and neck and is designed with extra height at the neck which makes it more ergonomic than most other pillows on the market. The cover is also washable.

Tempur-Pedic offers a 5-year warranty and free shipping.


  • Firm pillow contours to head and neck.
  • It comes in a variety of sizes.


  • Some customers say they prefer the previous version.
Was this helpful?

Best cooling pillow

The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow

  • Price: $$$
  • Pillow sizes offered: small (14 x 20 inches), standard (20 x 26 inches), king (20 x 36 inches)
  • Why we love it: This all-natural pillow is made from buckwheat hulls, which provide great airflow to keep your pillow cool all night.

Pro tip: If you’re in migraine mode, try putting the Hullo pillow in the freezer or refrigerator to cool it even more. 

The cover is made with organic twill and comes in king, standard, and small sizes.


  • A Flatter pillow is great for stomach and back sleepers.
  • The buckwheat hulls provide optimal airflow to keep the pillow cool at night.


  • Buckwheat hulls make a light rustling noise.
  • It May not offer a high enough loft to support side sleepers, which may lead to increased pressure around the shoulders and neck.
Was this helpful?

Best adjustable pillow

Mediflow Water Pillow

Price: $$$

Pillow sizes offered: 28 x 20 x 4.5 inches

Why we love it: This pillow doesn’t give you that “floating on a lake” feeling, but it does provide firm support for your head and neck.

You can adjust the firmness by deciding how much water to add. This makes it an ideal pillow for combination sleepers because you can control the fill and experiment with the amount that best supports your neck in all positions.

The cover is made from 100 percent cotton that’s hypoallergenic. And the pillow is made in the USA.


  • You can determine how firm you want it based on how much water you add
  • Ideal pillow for combination sleepers
  • 30-day trial allows you to return it if you don’t love it


  • Pillow can weigh around 8 pounds when filled with water, which may take time to get used to
Was this helpful?

Best hypoallergenic pillow

Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Shredded Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pillow sizes offered: standard, queen, king
  • Why we love it: This pillow has a breathable cover made from hypoallergenic bamboo. The cover is also removable and machine washable.

The shredded memory foam provides a little more softness than solid memory foam pillows and allows for more airflow.

The fill comes inside a zippable inner shell that allows you to add and remove memory foam, adjusting to your preferred softness and plushness. More fill = firmer pillow.


  • Shredded memory foam adds more softness and allows for more airflow than traditional solid memory foam.
  • The zippable inner shell lets you add and remove memory foam.


  • Some may find the pillow to be too soft.
Was this helpful?

Best-value memory foam pillow

EPABO Contour Memory Foam Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pillow sizes offered: standard (two options), queen (two options), king
  • Why we love it: At an extremely reasonable price point, this memory foam pillow offers support and comfort for both back and side sleepers. Memory foam is known to trap heat, so the cover is made with bamboo to help improve breathability.

As with the Tempur-Pedic neck pillow, the ergonomic design offers more height at the neck. But it comes at a more affordable price point.


  • It has an affordable price point.
  • It’s supportive for both back and side sleepers.
  • The ergonomic design offers more height at the neck.


  • It has a strong scent when first unwrapped so it may need to be aired out before using.
Was this helpful?

Best Bolster

Nature’s Guest Adjustable Cervical Roll Pillow

  • Price: $$
  • Pillow sizes offered: 17 x 3.5 x 4.5 inches
  • Why we love it: This pillow can act as an extra bolster just below your neck. The fill is adjustable, so you can customize the height and firmness to the level of support you need.

By adding lift under your neck and letting your head rest easily, it supports a neutral spine and may help relieve pressure and tension that can make migraine worse.

It can double as a leg and knee bolster when you need it. It does come at a higher price point, but you can get your money back within 30 days if you find it’s not for you.


  • The rectangular shape allows users to turn the pillow for more height.
  • It acts as an extra bolster below the neck, which lets the head rest easily and reduces pressure and tension.
  • It can double as a leg and knee bolster.


  • Some reviewers note that the pillow is too hard, even with some fill removed.
  • It’s more expensive than other options.
Was this helpful?

Still searching for the right sleep products?

Let us help. Shop our top picks for pillows by condition or sleep position to get the sound sleep you deserve. 

Was this helpful?

A comparison of the best pillows for migraine

PriceWho it’s best forHighlights
Tempur-Neck Pillow$$$back and side sleepersFirm pillow contours to the neck.
The Hullo Buckwheat Pillow$$$stomach and back sleepersBuckwheat hulls provide more airflow to keep the pillow cool.
Mediflow Water Pillow$$$combination sleepersAbility to fill with water allows user to vary firmness.
Xtreme Comforts Hypoallergenic Shredded Memory Foam Pillow$$those who prefer softer pillowsCan add or remove shredded memory foam to adjust to desired softness level.
Epabo Contour Memory Foam Pillow$$back and side sleepersErgonomic design provides more height at the neck.
Nature’s Guest Cervical Roll Pillow$$those seeking extra neck supportRectangular shape allows for use as a neck bolster to support neutral spine, relieve pressure and tension.

How to choose a pillow if you have migraine

When shopping for a pillow to help alleviate migraine episodes, start by assessing your sleep patterns.

Are you a back sleeper? A side sleeper? Back and stomach sleepers may benefit from a lower loft, while side sleepers may require a higher loft to keep their spine aligned.

The exact loft you need in a pillow comes down to maintaining cervical alignment. If your head is too elevated and nudges your neck up out of alignment, then your pillow is too high and may contribute to neck pain.

If you move around a lot (looking at you, combination sleepers), finding the right pillow can be tricky since different lofts are best for different positions. In this case, it may be best to train yourself to sleep on your back, as this position supports a neutral spine and may reduce tension headaches.

Always look for a pillow that will provide great support for how you sleep. You might want to try something that’s contoured for head and neck support.

Also consider your migraine triggers, as well as what tends to help. For example, if you typically find that a cool cloth or ice pack helps your headaches, try looking for a cooling pillow. If you know scents bother you, look for a pillow that won’t off-gas a chemical smell.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the best position to sleep in with migraine?

The best sleeping position may depend on where you most commonly experience pain. If you experience neck or shoulder pain, it’s recommended to see a physiotherapist, who can work with you to figure out what positions work best.

How should you sleep to avoid migraine?

You can take various steps to improve your sleep and avoid migraine episodes. These include:

  • sleeping in a dark, cool environment
  • sticking to a regular sleep schedule
  • avoiding caffeine late in the day
  • avoiding electronics in bed before going to sleep
  • performing relaxation techniques

Can my pillow cause migraine episodes?

The wrong pillow can cause neck discomfort and pain due to tension and strain on neck muscles. This can contribute to headaches such as migraine episodes.


Finding a supportive pillow can go a long way toward easing migraine episodes. Try one of these top picks to help you deal with pain and rest more easily.