Home / Blog September 20, 2023

4 min read

How to Relieve Neck Pain from Sleeping

Are morning neck pains cramping your day? In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the causes, durations, muscle pain, and tension that often accompany sleeping wrong. Explore effective strategies and simple remedies to bid farewell to nighttime discomfort and wake up refreshed. Say hello to nights of peaceful slumber!

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Sleeping on an uncomfortable pillow or mattress is a common cause of neck pain, and you can fix that by getting a supportive body pillow or bolster pillow.

While the duration of having a stiff neck from sleep varies per person, you can get relief from applying ice, over-the-counter medication, and heat therapy.

To prevent neck pain from sleep in advance, try creating an optimal sleeping environment, fixing your sleeping position, and relaxation techniques before sleep. 

Did you know?
Your pillow’s age can contribute to neck pain — pillows lose their support and become less effective over time

Sleep is supposed to be a time of rest and rejuvenation, but there's nothing restful about waking up with a kink in your neck from sleeping. Neck pain from sleeping wrong is a common issue that can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling uncomfortable throughout the day.

If you want to explore the various causes of neck pain from sleeping in awkward positions, as well as practical solutions to help you find relief, keep reading!

Common Causes of Neck Pain from Sleeping Wrong

Understanding the root causes of neck pain from sleeping wrong is the first step to finding relief. Here are some common culprits:

Poor Pillow Choice

Your pillow plays a significant role in maintaining proper neck alignment during sleep. Using a pillow that's too high or too flat can result in a pulled neck during sleep and lead to neck pain. If you are accustomed to sleeping with your current pillow but would like extra support for your neck, try using a bolster pillow in addition to your current pillow, like our own Cuddling.

Sleeping Position

The position you sleep in matters. Sleeping on your stomach with your head turned to the side can put undue stress on your neck. Ideally, try to sleep on your back or side with proper support; consider adding a body pillow that can support your joints and neck to relieve pressure


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Mattress Quality

An old or unsupportive mattress can contribute to poor sleep posture and a stiff neck at night, leading to neck pain. Investing in a comfortable and supportive mattress can make a significant difference.


Sometimes, we twist and turn our heads into awkward positions during the night without even realizing it. This overexertion can strain neck muscles and cause discomfort.

Sleeping Environment

Factors like an uncomfortable pillow, excessive noise, or an uncomfortable room temperature can disrupt your sleep and lead to poor sleep posture.

How long does neck pain from sleeping last?

In most cases, minor neck pain may resolve within a few days with proper care and rest. The duration of neck pain from sleeping wrong can vary from person to person and depends on several factors, including the severity of the strain and how quickly you seek relief. However, if the pain persists or worsens, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional.

Muscle pain from sleeping wrong

One of the most common forms of neck pain from sleeping wrong is muscle pain. When you sleep in an awkward position, the muscles in your neck may become strained or tense, leading to discomfort. To alleviate muscle pain, try the following methods:

  • Apply Ice: Applying ice to the affected area for 15-20 minutes can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
  • Heat Therapy: After the initial inflammation has subsided, you can switch to heat therapy, using a warm compress or heating pad to relax the tense muscles.
  • Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Make sure you don’t overdose because you feel the medication isn’t working – side effects from overdose can be even more detrimental to your health. 

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Neck tension while sleeping

Neck tension while sleeping can result from stress and anxiety, which can manifest physically during sleep. To reduce neck tension:

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Incorporate relaxation techniques into your bedtime routine, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, to reduce stress and promote restful sleep.

Improve Sleep Environment

Ensure your sleep environment is comfortable and conducive to relaxation. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.

Consider a Supportive Pillow

Invest in a high-quality pillow designed to support the natural curve of your neck; either a bolster pillow to prop up your neck at an elevated angle, or a soft Bearaby body pillow that can help alleviate tension while you sleep.

How to relieve neck pain from sleeping wrong

Adjust Your Sleeping Position

Changing your sleeping position can make a significant difference in preventing neck pain. Here are some tips:

  • Back Sleepers: Use a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. Place a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your neck for added support. Also place a pillow under your knees or thighs, to keep the muscles along the spine flat and relaxed.
  • Side Sleepers: Keep your head and neck aligned with the rest of your body with a pillow that fills the space between your shoulder and ear. This will help prevent stiffness in your neck muscles by preventing extra weight from being placed on your neck and causing discomfort. Also, place a pillow between your knees to align your spine properly.
  • Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach: Sleeping on your stomach can strain your neck, as it can increase weight on your neck. If possible, train yourself to sleep in a different sleeping position.


Choose the Right Pillow

Investing in the right pillow is crucial for preventing neck pain. Look for a pillow that suits your preferred sleeping position and provides adequate support for your neck. Memory foam, latex, and feather pillows are popular choices known for their support and comfort.

Evaluate Your Mattress

Your mattress plays a crucial role in maintaining proper sleep posture. If your mattress is old or unsupportive, consider upgrading to one that suits your comfort preferences. Memory foam and latex mattresses are known for their ability to contour to your body's shape and provide excellent support.

Practice Neck Stretches and Exercises

Incorporate gentle neck stretches and exercises into your daily routine to improve neck flexibility and reduce tension. Consult a physical therapist or healthcare professional for guidance on specific exercises tailored to your needs.

Apply Heat or Cold Therapy

Heat and cold therapy can provide relief from neck pain. Apply a warm compress or heating pad to tense muscles for 15-20 minutes to relax them. Alternatively, use an ice pack to reduce inflammation and numb the area. Be sure to use a cloth or towel to protect your skin from direct contact with ice.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining the health of your muscles and joints, including those in your neck. Drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day to prevent muscle tension and stiffness.

Consider Professional Help

If your neck pain persists or worsens despite trying home remedies, it's essential to seek professional help. A healthcare provider, such as a physical therapist or chiropractor, can provide personalized treatment options to address the underlying causes of your neck pain.


Waking up with neck pain from sleeping wrong is a frustrating experience, but you can alleviate it with home remedies to some extent. By understanding the common causes of neck pain, adopting proper sleeping positions, investing in the right pillow and mattress, and practicing self-care techniques, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of waking up with neck discomfort.

Remember that each person's experience with neck pain is unique, so it's essential to find the solutions that work best for you. Prioritize your sleep and well-being by taking steps to prevent and alleviate neck pain, ensuring you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

A pain-free neck leads to better sleep, and better sleep leads to a healthier you. Sweet dreams and restful nights ahead!