Neck Pain After Sleeping – What Could Be Causing It?

Do you work in an office and do you miss out on movement? Then you will likely complain of neck pain at the end of the day . Due to the one-sided load and an unfavorable head position at the desk [1]the muscles tense. This may just be uncomfortable at the beginning, but over time you will notice significant pain.

You actually expect recovery during the night. The muscles should relax and be fit again in the morning in order to get through the day without any problems. It is a clear limitation if the neck pain already occurs after sleeping. Then you have not experienced the relief you were hoping for, but the pain increases over the course of the day.

But where does the neck pain come from after sleeping and what can you do about it? Learn how to improve your sleep to protect your neck.

Do you sleep on your side, stomach or back? In every position you should pay attention to a healthy posture of the head and neck. Otherwise the muscles may be impaired.

This occurs when the muscles are stretched or shortened over a long period of time . If you stretch your head or put it closer to your chest, this will be unusual for the muscles. In this position, the muscles cannot relax and trigger points are likely [2] develop.

The trigger points can already be felt with your bare hands. A friend or yourself can run over the muscles and apply light pressure. If the pressure feels painful , if some areas are thickened and not pliable, this indicates a trigger point.

Unhealthy sleeping position

If your head lies unnaturally during sleep, for example if it is bent forward due to a pillow that is too high, this puts strain on the neck muscles. It is healthiest if you sleep on your back and use a special neck pillow.

The pillow could be the cause . Depending on your sleeping position, it does not seem to be suitable for you to offer healthy support. If it is too high , the head is bent upwards. The cervical spine no longer follows its natural course and the muscles are constantly under tension. This can cause neck pain.

On the other hand, a pillow that is too flat can also cause neck pain. Especially with side sleepers [3]there is a high risk that the pillow does not offer the required stability. Then it happens that the head falls lower to the mattress in the side position. The cervical spine is now bent to the side. In this case, too, neck pain is the long-term consequence.

In addition to the pillow, waking up in itself also harbors a certain danger. If you use a loud alarm clock , which effectively wakes you up, but is not very gentle, you could be scared. In this moment of shock, the muscles contract and the tension can set in with a thoughtless movement. Therefore, it is better to be woken up in a calm way. For example with the help of a daylight alarm clock, which saves you the stress of the loud alarm tone in the morning.

In order to avoid neck pain, you should therefore pay attention to a correct sleeping posture and make waking up more relaxed. The following shows you how to make your bed comfortable and healthy.


As expected, the pillow has a high impact on head posture and neck pain . Using a large down pillow can be comfortable, but is likely less suitable for your neck. Due to the height, the cervical spine is bent in an unnatural way and the muscles are affected. The down pillow also does not offer the necessary stability [4]to support your head and relax the muscles. The muscles still have to do a lot of work and cannot experience a restful night’s sleep.

special pillow that supports your head and absorbs the strain is therefore more suitable . This works wonderfully with a memory foam pillow , for example . This special material deforms under the influence of body heat , but otherwise remains stable. Thanks to this property, it adapts ideally to your cervical spine and will provide good support.

As a side sleeper you should, however, a higher pillow use. In order to remain stable in the side position, knee cushions are suitable . You clamp this between your legs so that you lie safely on your side. This also relaxes the muscles.


The mattress should also be based on your sleeping habits. It is important here that the mattress has the appropriate hardness . If it is too soft, the shoulder area will sink in too deep and the muscles will be unevenly stressed. Hence, for most people, it is better to resort to a harder execution.

Comfortable mattress

Choose a mattress with several lying areas and the right firmness to relieve both your neck and back.

There are also orthopedic mattresses , which are divided into 7 zones . These lying areas have an individual hardness and are better tailored to the different areas of the body. This version is a little softer in the head area, while the shoulders and pelvis receive greater support.

An older and saggy mattress can also be responsible for your symptoms. Dispose of them and don’t hesitate to buy a new, high-quality mattress. The modern premium models will have a noticeable effect on your neck and back, so that you get up in the morning without pain.


The pregnancy is in many ways a lot of strain on the body . During this time, the intake should by avoided painkillers [5] so you will have to use other ways to combat the neck pain.

Especially in the first trimester, neck pain occurs more frequently due to hormonal changes . On the other hand, even an optimal pillow is of little help. After the first trimester, however, the neck pain may not subside. Then you should think about changing your sleeping position .

Pregnancy pillow

Use a pregnancy pillow to help you get into a stable sleeping position. This relaxes the muscles and reduces neck pain.

If the pain mainly occurs in the lower back , the use of a lumbar pillow is recommended . These are relatively thin and are placed in the lumbar region to take some of the pressure off.

However, if you notice pain in the neck or upper back, it is more helpful to combat it with a side sleeper pillow or a pregnancy pillow. These pillows will be of great support during pregnancy so that you can get a restful sleep during this time as well.


Understandably, if you don’t want to take pain medication all the time, warmth is a great way to relieve neck pain after sleep. The warmth relaxes the muscles, which reduces the pain.

You can achieve this, for example, with a warm shower in the evening or in the morning. Pay more attention to your neck muscles and use the heat to target this area.

Alternatively, you can also use a neck heating pad , which has an even greater warming effect [6]owns. You put this on the neck and set the desired temperature in a targeted manner. The application is simple to carry out and does not burden the body. Use calm to the muscles to loosen pieces of this heating pad every day for breakfast. In conjunction with a suitable pillow and an orthopedic mattress, the symptoms will be less in the long term.


Pain in the neck and back area is a real common ailment. More than 20 million people in Germany are affected by these complaints. If you also count yourself among those who suffer, you don’t just have to accept this.

By working on your sleep behavior and creating a conducive environment, the muscles are relieved. The pain subsides and the morning is spent with greater relaxation.

Also ensure more movement and strengthen your muscles so that they become more resilient. Then you have the best prerequisites to take action against neck pain.

Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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