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December 31, 2017 3 min read

Pain in the neck? You May be Sleeping Wrong


Pain in the neck? You May be Sleeping Wrong

Neck and head pain are both common complaints, especially if you are sleeping wrong. Issues such as stress and overexertion may also play a role, but if you are not sleeping correctly, it’s almost a sure bet you will get some form of neck or head pain.

Luckily, in many cases there are some easy ways to fix this pain and prevent it from ever coming back.

Why the pain appears

Occasional neck pain from sleeping wrong is perfectly normal. Most people remember what triggered their neck pain, such as sleeping in an unusual position or waking up with their head awkwardly placed on the pillow. 

The reason this is so common is that while you are sleeping, the brain doesn’t send as many signals out to the body. In a deeper state of sleep, issues like a small pain in the neck may not even register to the brain. Unfortunately, this can lead to quite a rough morning, as people wake up with pulled or strained muscles.


Dealing with neck strain right now

Neck strain is annoying and can be very painful. While there is no single solution that works for everyone, there may be a few tips that can help many people deal with their neck pain in the short term.


Rest – This may be the most important tip. Your neck carries around a heavy head all day, and if it is strained it is working even harder to stay upright. Lying down in a comfortable position or sitting in a high-back chair may help rest the head.

Warm compress or ice packs – some people respond well to warm compresses to loosen the muscles or ice packs to dull the pain. Don’t use them for more than 20 minutes at a time, though, and if the pain gets worse, do without.

Gentle stretches – some gentle stretching after a warm bath or shower may help restore some range of motion in the neck and reduce pain. However, don’t overdo it, as you may end up hurting the neck even more.

De-stress – stress can tighten up the muscles, which can mean even more pain if you already have a strained neck. Try calming activities like reading or watching a calming movie.

Massage – whether through self-massage or getting a massage from someone else, applying some gentle pressure may help blood move into the area and relieve pain.

Anti-inflammatory drugs – some people respond well to anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).


Preventing neck strain in the future

Dealing with neck pain can be…well…a pain in the neck. The best way to deal with the pain is to prevent it from ever happening. There are some simple ways to help accomplish this:


Get the right pillow – Your pillow must support your head all night, make sure it is the best one for the job! Check our post on finding the right pillow.

Change up your sleeping position – If you notice a regular pain in the neck from sleeping, it may be your sleeping position. For instance, switching from side sleeping to back sleeping may help some people

Avoid stomach sleeping – While some people may sleep in several odd ways and be perfectly fine, neck pain is a very common concern in people who sleep on their stomach. If possible, avoid sleeping on the stomach.


These are the best ways to avoid short term neck pain. Anyone who experiences neck pain that does not go away or gets worse may consider seeing a doctor for a check up to see if there are any underlying concerns.

Luckily, most of the time making these changes can relieve neck pain from sleeping wrong – because you won’t be sleeping wrong anymore! 

Written by Ryan Farris Founder