What To Know About Neck Pain From Sleeping on Side

The position you sleep in is closely related to the reliable source and quality of your sleep. If you are experiencing neck discomfort, the best sleeping positions are on your back or side. Both of these have less stress on your back than lying on your stomach.

It can be difficult to change your sleeping position, since your preferred position is often determined early in life. However, over time, you will feel more comfortable with the new position. Most people walk around in the middle of the night, so having extra pillows around can help keep you comfortable even when you are moving.

Research shows that not only sleep space, but sleep itself, may play a role in musculoskeletal pain, including neck and shoulder pain. In one study, researchers compared musculoskeletal pain in 4,140 healthy men and women with no sleep problems.

Why do you have neck pain after sleeping?

These are common complaints among men and women and even teenagers and children. Some cases of neck pain have no known cause, while others are due to injuries or aging. However, people can go to bed without medical issues and wake up with neck pain, wondering why the pain occurred.

  • Awkward angle; The head or neck can sit at an unusual angle for a long time during sleep, which can stretch and stress muscles, nerves, and joints beyond their normal limits.
  • Sudden movement; Perhaps due to rolling or dreaming, sudden neck movements may occur during sleep that may stretch or compress the neck.
  • Preexisting injury; Some injuries that occur while awake, such as whiplash, can take hours before pain and discomfort occur later in sleep.

Typically, the cause of stiff neck roots is neck tension, which may be due to muscle tension or ligament shock. Many other causes may be present, such as osteoarthritis of the joints or disc herniation of the cervical vertebrae.

Did you wake up with a neck pain?

Stiff neck after sleep is painful, restricting the movement of the neck and head. It could be a slight pain or pain that is like an electric shock. In some cases, if the muscles are pulled tight enough, you can get up and your head pulled down towards the shoulder.

The pain is caused by muscles, nerves and joints that were stressed due to the neck and head being held at an unusual angle for a long time during sleep. Awakening pain and stiffness are common symptoms. when a person with a neck pain is lying down to sleep, they should try the following:

  • Back sleepers; Sleeping on the back is one of the best sleeping opportunities for people with neck pain. It is important to try to maintain a normal curvature of the spine while lying flat on your back. Sleeping with both hands on the sides or chest can also reduce morning pain and stiffness.
  • Side sleepers; Sleeping on the side is another good sleeping position for people with neck pain. Placing the neck and abdominal areas can help reduce pressure on the cervical vertebrae, strengthen the neck and allow it to move freely.
  • Stomach sleepers; Avoid lying on your stomach to reduce the long-term burden on the neck in one direction. If a person has to lie on his stomach, he can use a very thin pillow to lift the forehead and create a more natural angle to the neck.

However, changing the normal sleeping position can be difficult. Most people set up their preferred sleeping positions early in childhood.

Best sleeping position for neck pain

The best sleeping position for the neck is behind you or on your side. The back is especially recommended; just make sure you use a pillow that supports your neck and a crawling pillow to straighten your head.

Sleeping Upright; Most people recover from back and neck pain by sleeping upright or in the dining room. This is common among pregnant women, for example, with their back pain. If you choose this space, the best attachment is a horse-shaped pillow to hold the neck, as is the type often used on air travel.

Sleep on your side; Lying on your side is one of the best ways to keep your head in one direction, with your chin moving forward. When sleeping in this position, it is a good idea to use a pillow high enough to keep your neck horizontal but not so high that your upper ear is forced toward your shoulder.

Lying on your back; Lying on your back helps maintain the natural folds of your spine. You can use a thin pillow in this position than you would use while sleeping on your side. The position of your head should be slightly elevated so that it is at the same angle as you are standing.

On your side, with your feet bent towards the chest; This does not provide balance for the shoulders and neck. It also does not distribute the weight evenly throughout your body and can lead you to wake up in the morning with back pain.

Avoid lying on your stomach; If you are experiencing neck pain, it is a good idea to avoid sleeping on your stomach. In this position, your head is forced to one side for hours at a time. This ugly setting can put a lot of stress on your neck.

These are just normal sleeping positions. As we all know, there are thousands of other ways to keep yourself up at night. So how do you say a good sleeping position from one that will leave you with back and neck pain? As mentioned earlier, the most important question you should ask yourself when lying down is are all my head, neck, and spine in a neutral position? If so, you are more likely to wake up with a healthy spinal cord.

Causes of neck pain after sleeping

Pillow does not provide adequate support; Your pillow has a lot of influence on the position of your neck and it is a frequent cause of neck pain that is worse when you are asleep. If the pillow is very flat, soft, high or hard, your neck is positioned in a way that emphasizes the neck muscles.

Sudden movements; Another cause of neck stress during sleep is due to sudden movements that weaken the neck muscles, tendons and ligaments. For example, flip and flip your sleep or turn your hands around. Myoclonus is a short-lived, involuntary shock or tremor of one or more muscles.

Sleeping position; A study of the relationship between sleep posture and non-specific symptoms (no known cause) found sleep apnea causes spinal symptoms. This study focused on symptoms from the lumbar spine (lower back), cervical spine (neck) and the entire spine.

Here are a few things you can do at home to ease your pain so you can continue your day.

  1. Stretching. Relaxing muscles and nerves by stretching can help reduce pain and reduce muscle tension. Make sure you move around before you start stretching to prevent further pain and injury.
  2. Heating pad. Using a heating pad can help relax and relax muscles, improve your range of motion and reduce pain.
  3. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Taking these over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce swelling, pain, and stiffness.
  4. Massage. Gentle massage of hands and fingers or an electric massager can reduce some of the tension and pain in the muscles.

If your pain persists for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor. They can identify the cause and recommend additional treatments – such as physical therapy or corticosteroid injections – to help ease your pain.

How to fix neck pain from sleeping on side

If you often wake up with neck pain, see a qualified orthopedic surgeon. The doctor will evaluate your night behavior and recommend treatments that will work to reduce pain effectively. Here are some tips to find the best sleeping position for neck pain:

1. Follow the rule of neck exercise

Simple stretching helps reduce pressure from stiff neck. The following exercises should try:

  • Place one of your hands on the side of the neck. gently rub your hand around your neck. Rotate your head round for at least five to ten seconds. Now, place your hand on the other side of the neck and repeat the same exercise.
  • Roll your head back in such a way that your chin points to the ceiling. After that, return to the neutral position.
  • Bend your head in such a way that your chin touches your chest. When doing this exercise, make sure your shoulders are relaxed. Hold this position for twenty seconds, and then, repeat.

Since these stretching causes your neck to move slightly in a circular motion, it will help to rejuvenate your neck muscles while strengthening blood flow to the tissues. This will provide immediate comfort for the neck.

2. Take the right pillow

Finding the right pillow can improve the quality of your sleep and prevent or reduce neck pain, depending on studies on pillow use. If you are lying on your side, take a pillow that only fills the space between your ear and your mattress without raising your head. If you are lying on your back, your pillow should prevent your head from turning back or forth.

There are many pillow options to choose from. The goal is a pillow that gives you good support as well as a good night’s sleep. The basic premise is to find a pillow that puts your neck in that neutral position.

3. Try to stretch your neck

Stretching, which can also help, crosses the line between treatment and prevention. Getting to the point where you are in pain can be too late for stretching to help, but keeping your muscles relaxed and flexible can reduce your risk of neck ligament, muscle and tendon tendons, and torticollis.

  • Try touching your right ear with your right shoulder. Gently tap the left side of your head. Go back to the middle, and repeat to the left. Do 10 reps each left and right.
  • Look up to the ceiling as much as you can. Go back through the middle, and look down as much as you can. Do 10 repetitions each up and down.
  • Turn your head to the right. Gently push on your chin with your left hand. Go back to the middle and repeat to the left. Do 10 repetitions each right and left.
  • Make a large clock circle with your nose, five times around. Make five circles opposite the clock.

Stretching will help keep your neck joint down, but if you want to reduce neck pain from sleep, you need to address the two reasons we discussed above.

4. Self-massage

After initial recovery from pain, further relaxation of the muscles and nerves can be achieved by stretching or massage. Some stretching may not be fully complete due to pain and stiffness of the neck, which is okay.

The goal is to gradually increase flexibility without causing further pain. Similarly, the hand and fingers can be used to compress the sore area of ​​the neck as long as it does not cause pain.

5. The right position in bed

Even before going to bed, one of the most common mistakes people make is not to support their head properly while reading or watching television in bed. Avoid leaning on several pillows with your head tilted forward.

If you are reading, make sure that your hands are supported and your head is in a neutral position. When it comes to getting a closed eye, the best place to sleep is your back or side. Avoid lying on your stomach, as this forces your head to rotate in an awkward position.

6. Apply a heating pad on the neck

Warm massage is one of the traditional but effective treatments for relieving neck pain as it reduces neck stiffness caused by poor sleep.

Although there are various ways to apply heat to the affected area, one is to use a hot water bottle. To start, pour hot water into a hot water bottle. Make sure water does not leak from the bottle. Now, apply a hot compress on the neck for at least ten minutes or until the pain slowly subsides.

7. Ice or heat therapy

Applying ice shortly after neck strain can help reduce swelling. Ice setting is best for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Heat treatments, such as warm baths or the use of a warming pad, help to relax and relax muscles, which can also reduce pain and improve mobility.


Several other factors can reduce the risk of stiff neck or other pain from sleeping, such as having a sturdy mattress. It should also be noted that sleeping in areas where you do not want to sleep properly, such as a chair or couch while watching TV, may increase the likelihood of waking up with a stiff neck.