If you’re experiencing neck pain from sleeping, you’re not alone. About 10%-20% of adults experience some form of it.1 Neck pain can also become more common as you — and your spine — age.2
In some cases, you may develop a sore neck from your type of sleep position. Your sleeping position can put stress on your neck muscles, or can be caused from sleeping on unsupportive bedding. Alternatively, a sore neck may be caused by poor posture during the day or not stretching your neck frequently enough. So, depending on the cause, you could prevent your neck pain by stretching, changing your sleeping posture, or switching to more supportive bedding.3
Understanding what typically causes these aches can help you learn how to relieve neck pain from sleeping.
No one wants to wake up feeling sore from a stiff neck. But if your neck pain feels genuinely debilitating, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible because there could be a more serious cause than your posture or sleep hygiene.4
Here are some of the most common causes of mild to moderate neck pain:3
It’s also possible that a few different factors could be combined to cause your neck pain. We’ll break down solutions for each potential cause, so you can try the combination of solutions that makes the most sense for your body.
It’s always better to prevent neck pain in the first place. But sometimes you wake up experiencing it and need to know how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong as quickly as possible.
In this scenario, you may want to try taking pain medication like ibuprofen, along with some gentle stretching.3 (Of course, if stretching causes pain, it’s normally best to stop immediately and consult your doctor.)
Here are some gentle stretches you can try to help loosen your neck muscles when you wake up with neck pain:
While stretching in the morning can help ease neck pain at the moment, gently stretching your neck before bed could help prevent neck pain in the first place.3 Yoga for sleep is a great option to loosen your muscles before bed and help you relax, too. Consider incorporating these stretches, into both your bedtime and morning routines to help keep your neck muscles relaxed and pain-free.
Some sleeping positions can put undue stress on your spine, leading to stiff neck muscles. For example, stomach sleepers that have their head twisted to the side can lead to a sore neck.5
Experts recommend trying to use one or both of these sleep positions to help prevent neck pain:5
It may feel weird to change your sleep position at first, but it will become more natural over time. And if a new sleeping position could help you wake up refreshed and pain-free, we think it’s worth a try.
Overly soft mattresses or pillows that raise the angle of your head too high can contribute to neck pain because it can lead you to sleep in a position that puts stress on your spine.5 Swapping out your mattress and pillow for more support options can help your neck stay properly positioned as you sleep — leading to happy, relaxed muscles when you wake up each morning.
Trying a firmer mattress could provide more support and help reduce your neck pain.3 If you want to find out if a firmer mattress could make your neck more comfortable, try placing your current mattress directly on the ground and sleeping on it.6 If it improves your neck pain even a small amount, it’s probably worth making the switch to a genuinely supportive mattress. After all, you can’t sleep on the ground forever.
At the same time, you want a mattress that’s comfortable enough to provide you with a deep night’s rest. One survey found that among people with back pain, those who slept on very hard mattresses had the worst sleep quality.6
For maximum support paired with maximum comfort, we recommend the Wave Hybrid Mattress.
Available in sizes twin through California King, the Wave Hybrid Mattress:
If you tend to sleep hot, the Wave Hybrid also comes in a Hybrid Snow version. These mattresses feature additional cooling technology, such as 50% more cooling gel, a cooling mattress cover, and HeatDelete™ Bands that draw heat away from your body, keeping you comfy and cool all night long.
Choosing a supportive pillow designed to help keep your spine aligned as you sleep can also help prevent neck pain.3 And while we’re always fans of upgrading to the mattress of your dreams, trying a new pillow can often prove a simpler option to start with.
Here’s why we love the Foam Pillow:
For those who prefer having their head and upper back more elevated as they sleep, we recommend the Backrest Pillow:
Ultimately, it’s about what helps you sleep best. Research suggests that regularly sleeping well can help make your neck pain more likely to improve.7 In addition to paying attention to expert recommendations, it’s also important to pay attention to what feels best for your body — whether you’re falling asleep or waking up.
At Casper, we believe a good night’s sleep can improve everything from how we feel to how well we learn and even how kind we are to each other.
That’s why we’re obsessed with creating the best possible sleep products — and then helping you find those that can help solve your specific sleep problem. First, our researchers, designers, and engineers study how we sleep so that they can create innovative, cozy products like Backrest Pillow. Then our award-winning customer experience team steps in to ensure you have a relaxing, supportive shopping experience.
We’re here to bring joy and rest to the exhausted, one pillow at a time.