Neck Hurt After Sleeping? 6 Reasons & Solutions

Neck Hurt After Sleeping? 6 Reasons & Solutions

Do you wake up with neck pain after sleeping? Many people suffer from chronic pain due to sleeping and are looking for pain relief. The common causes of neck pain involve discomfort in the neck muscles, vertebrae, nerves, joints, or discs.

Neck pain sufferers might suffer from stiffness in the neck, difficulty turning the head from side to side, pinched nerves, or muscle spasms. Neck pain involving the nerves can even result in weakness, numbness, or tingling in other parts of the body like the hands and arms.

Neck pain is a common issue, and there is a connection between neck pain and sleep quality. Poor quality sleep due to uncomfortable sleeping positions, the type of pillow, or other movements can lead to someone waking up with neck pain after a not-so-good night of sleep.

Today, let’s talk about six causes of neck pain after sleeping, and how SONU Sleep might help you eliminate neck pain from your bedtime routine. 

Why Does My Neck Hurt After Sleeping?

1. Pillows

Sleeping on the wrong pillow or mattress can increase neck and back pain. Standard pillows sometimes do not provide enough support for the head or neck. Choosing a pillow that is too flat or too thick can force your head to lay at awkward angles, which strains the neck. 

Choose pillows that cradle the head and neck, like a memory foam pillow, to help support proper sleep posture to reduce discomfort. Memory foam allows the neck's natural curve to align with the spine while sleeping, which is necessary for pain-free sleep. Feather pillows can work too but tend to need more frequent replacing.

The SONU Sleep system includes support pillows with each mattress. These pillows fit in the immersive, patented Comfort Channel. Each pillow is layered so that they are malleable while providing vertical support. Even better – they are adjustable. Adjust the pillows' height to help obtain the support you need to ease your sleeping problems. 

2. Sleeping Position

Sleeping in an uncomfortable position can cause neck strain. A stiff neck after sleeping on the stomach, for example, can force the sleeper to place their head on their pillow in an awkward position. In the stomach position, the sleeper’s head is twisted to the side, which can strain the neck muscles. 

To stop neck pain, switch to a side or back position. Each position comes with benefits.

Side sleeping tops the list of the most popular sleeping positions. The benefits of sleeping on the side include less snoring, support for the digestive system, and better spinal alignment — which means relief for both the lower and upper back.

The back position is the second most popular sleeping position. It can help reduce pressure on the lower back, which helps with back pain. The position also allows for an even distribution of body weight.

The SONU Sleep System was designed with side sleepers in mind. SONU Sleep created its mattresses and accessories to help eliminate sleepers’ discomfort and discomfort with brilliant, never-before-seen functionality. Say “goodbye” to the discomfort of a sore neck and “hello” to support that only SONU can deliver.

3. Injury

Some people experience neck pain due to a previous injury. Common injuries that affect the neck include whiplash from car accidents or sports injuries, like trauma to the head, neck, or spine. 

Seeking medical advice from a professional immediately after an accident can help determine whether the neck has been injured, if physical therapy is needed, and what measures need to be taken to prevent further trauma. A physical therapist might recommend neck exercises that can help stop neck pain after an injury. 

Exercises like neck retraction and neck rotation help prevent or stop neck pain. Doing simple stretches each day can also help keep the neck limber and prevent a stiff neck, muscle strain, or pulled neck muscles.

4. Movement 

Sudden movements can cause injury to the neck muscles. Turning the head too quickly or sitting up too fast can strain the neck. A sleeper can also experience neck pain if they are prone to tossing and turning at night. 

Tossing and turning can be caused by poor sleep quality. To help keep it from happening, following a sleep routine, practicing self-care, and taking other measures to prevent sleeplessness can help.

5. Posture

Having poor posture can result in neck pain. Walking or prolonged sitting in a slumped-over position can hurt the neck. So can sleeping in a position that misaligns the spine. 

Doing exercises that improve posture can help a person stand up straighter and reduce their neck pain. Working hunkered over in front of a computer all day can cause neck and shoulder pain. Standing up every so often and stretching can help improve posture. Likewise, sleeping in a position that allows the spine to be in a neutral position can also help you avoid waking up with neck pain. 

6. Medical Condition

Neck pain is a symptom of some medical conditions like fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, cervical arthritis, and others. These conditions must be treated by a medical professional. Treatment might involve physical therapy, pain medication, or other forms of pain management. 

Below are descriptions of a few medical conditions that may involve neck pain.


Fibromyalgia is a pain disorder that affects the musculoskeletal system. As a result of overstimulation of the nerves between the brain and spinal cord, a person with this disease will often feel a debilitating amount of pain. 

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a degenerative spine disease. The spinal column narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and narrowing the canals through which spinal nerves travel. The disease can cause pain from the neck down to the legs. 

Cervical Arthritis

Cervical arthritis, also known as spondylosis, is a disease that wears down the cartilage of the cervical vertebrae. It can lead to chronic neck pain and abnormal growths on the spine. As cervical arthritis progresses, nerve roots in the spine become compressed, leading to weakness in the muscles and joints.

How Do You Treat Neck Pain?

In addition to making the corrections mentioned earlier, there are other remedies for neck pain that you can do at home. If neck pain is a frequent or chronic issue, get advice from a doctor first. However, if the pain only happens occasionally, try some of these tips:

  • Place a heating pad or hot water bottle on the neck.
  • Apply a cold pack or ice.
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen.
  • Do range-of-motion exercises.
  • Get a massage.
  • Wear a soft neck collar.

Because neck pain is sometimes a symptom of stress, relaxation techniques like meditation or a warm shower can help. 

Some neck pain requires the attention of a physician. Go to a doctor if your neck pain meets any of the following criteria:

  • Symptoms last for more than 1 week
  • The pain was caused by an injury
  • There is a lump in the neck or swollen glands
  • Pain medication does not help
  • The pain worsens when lying down

If your neck pain is accompanied by other symptoms like a headache or fever, call a doctor or go to the emergency room. Exhibiting these symptoms could mean that you have a more serious health condition, such as meningitis.

Other reasons to go to the emergency room include shortness of breath, nausea, arm pain, or sweating. If your neck pain is accompanied by any of these symptoms, you could be having a heart attack. 


If your neck hurts after sleeping, there could be an underlying cause like a medical condition or you might simply need to sleep on better pillows. To prevent or treat minor neck pain, at-home remedies like using ice packs, heating pads, or pain medication are effective. If your pain is accompanied by a fever, swollen glands, or other worrying symptoms, it is best to call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

Making the swap to better pillows has never been easier. Each SONU Sleep mattress comes with patented support pillows that fit perfectly in its 10-inch, immersive Comfort Channel. These pillows help deliver optimal head support while leaving just enough room under them for you to comfortably place your arms and hands.

When you think of pain-less sleep, think of SONU. Check out SONU Sleep today and discover pillows and mattresses designed with your comfort in mind.



5 Back and Neck Stretches to Do Every Day | HSS

Neck Pain While Sleeping: Causes and Prevention |

Neck pain Information | Mount Sinai - New York

Is insufficient quantity and quality of sleep a risk factor for neck, shoulder and low back pain? A longitudinal study among adolescents | PMC

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