Is it Possible to Ease Neck Pain From Sleeping?

Most of us have woken up with a stiff neck every so often, but for some of us, neck pain from sleeping is a far more serious issue. It can be seriously detrimental to your everyday life, leading you to wonder if there are any real solutions to this problem.

So is it possible to ease this type of pain and, if it is, how do you go about this process? Is it really as simple as just changing your sleeping arrangement? The answer is yes and no. While changing the way you sleep can ease the strain in some cases, in other cases it may take a little more effort to resolve the issue. Let’s take a look at what causes this problem and what you can do to get a better night’s rest.

Why Your Neck Hurts After Sleeping – The Main Culprit

When people wake up with a sore neck, they usually say they “slept on their neck wrong.” However, this may not be exactly the right way to think about this issue. Rather than sleeping with their neck twisted or in an awkward position, most people experience discomfort because they are sleeping in a position that strains the neck – often because of the placement of their pillow. In many cases, the problem is the use of too many pillows, or else a pillow that is too firm or that is too high.

This strain causes stiffening and minor pain in the ligaments, tendons, and muscles of the neck, which can take anywhere from one to three days to heal. While not a major injury, it’s enough to cause a disruption in your life, which leads to the next question – how can you go about changing things to avoid it?

Changing Up Your Sleeping Position

side sleeping

Side Sleeping

back sleeping

Back Sleeping

One of the most basic changes that you can make is in your sleeping position. Sleeping on your side or back is best for avoiding strain. Either position helps keep your head in the right position. However, you should take the appropriate measures in the pillows that you are using to avoid your head resting in an unnatural position.

Sleeping on your stomach elevates your head and neck into an unnatural position during the night, causing the aforementioned strain. It is best to avoid sleeping on your stomach altogether. If you find it difficult to avoid sleeping on your stomach, it can be a good idea to invest in a body pillow to hold onto during the night. It will help keep you from turning over and will replicate the feeling of being on your stomach.

Choosing a Pillow for Your Sleeping Style

To that end, it is also ideal to choose a pillow that is suited for your sleeping position.

Back Sleepers

Down-feather-pillows-1Back sleepers should choose a rounded pillow that will firmly support the head and curve up to support the neck. Down feather pillows are a good option for those without allergies; alternatives are available as well that replicate the softness of down.

Side Sleepers

Coop-Home-Goods-PillowSide sleepers should look for a moderately firm pillow that will support their head while also dipping into the curve of their neck to support it during the night. Memory foam pillows are a good option for side sleepers, as the foam will conform to the shape of their head and neck.

Most Sleepers

Memory-foam-cervical-pillows-1While a traditional pillow is still the best for most sleepers, a cervical pillow that curves around the neck can also be a great option for both styles of sleepers. Memory foam cervical pillows can provide great all-around support to the neck throughout the night.

This pillow made with shredded Memory Foam from Coop Home Goods  is a great option for both back and side sleepers, and is recommended for both. The shredded Memory Foam gives it the appropriate firmness for sleepers of both styles, as it has the softness needed for back sleepers as well as the support for side sleepers.

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When You Should Seek Help for Neck Pain

It is important to note that not all cases of neck pain from sleeping will go away on their own, and that there are a few circumstances in which you should seek help. If you find that your neck pain persists, it could be a sign that you are experiencing more than simple neck strain. Examples of other neck pain issues include worn joints, osteoarthritis, or even injuries such as whiplash, which may not show up until after a significant injury has occurred.



If your neck pain is very severe, or if your neck is twisted to the side, you may also be experiencing a condition called acute torticollis. This condition may simply be caused because you slept on your neck wrong or because of other environmental factors, or it could be caused by infection or injury, so if it persists, medical help may be needed.

If you have recently experienced an injury, or if your neck pain does not go away on its own after a few days, seek help from your doctor.


Fortunately for most of us who’ve dealt with this issue – and I know I’m one of them – neck pain from sleeping is pretty easy to deal with. It just takes a few adjustments in your sleeping habits and knowing the right products to use to help avoid the strain that leads to this problem in the first place. The Memory Foam pillow from Coop Home Goods comes highly recommended for all types of sleepers, and if you have any more questions we’d love to hear them! So just remember –

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach.
  • Use the right pillow for your sleeping style.
  • Seek medical attention if pain persists.

Neck pain be gone! You can rest easy in knowing that in a couple of easy steps you will hopefully never say you slept on your neck wrong ever again.