How to Fix Neck Pain From Sleeping?

Waking up with a painfully stiff neck is a common complaint for most people, and it is important to identify the reasons for its occurrence. For some it could simply be muscular soreness from the gym, for others it might be due to poor sleep posture or an uncomfortable pillow. The soft tissue structures (e.g. muscles, ligaments, tendons) in the neck can all contribute to pain and discomfort, in some cases, muscle spasms and headaches can occur. Here we discuss the potential causes and correct steps to minimise discomfort and prevention strategies to help you find relief.



Keeping the spine neutral is important for maintaining good neck health, whether it’s laying on your back or side, the spine being at an even height will minimise the occurrence of morning neck pain. Side sleepers can opt for a pillow between the legs to ensure correct alignment is achieved.

Sleeping on your stomach should be avoided to reduce the risk of a stiff neck, as the head is rotated and stretched on one side. It is important to note your sleep position before falling asleep and waking up in the morning, being aware makes it easier to figure out the right pillow for you.


Investing in the right pillow can go a long way in avoiding a stiff and painful neck in the morning. Pillows that are too high can cause the soft tissues in the neck to overstretch and contribute to your discomfort, it is recommended to seek a spring, foam, or rubber pillow, as long as it keeps the spine neutral.



Neck and shoulder discomfort can occur from our daily activities and stresses, it is encouraged to ensure tension and tightness is relieved to avoid aggravating the neck further. Gentle stretching and improving your sleep environment can help to improve flexibility and reduce tension in this area.Tilting the head side to side with gentle holds, along with bending the head forward and backwards helps to bring back mobility and relax tense muscles.

Try to ensure your bedroom is only used for sleeping, and avoid bringing your life stresses with you to bed. A quiet and dark room, with adequate temperature is a great start, it is recommended to also avoid using electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime to help relax the mind.


There are a multitude of ways to treat a stiff neck, but it’s important to not overdo it. Therapies like heat and cold are a great way to help treat neck symptoms, ice packs help to reduce pain and inflammation while heat packs can be applied to help relax tense and tight muscles. While you might find stretching is another way to help treat your symptoms, this can potentially worsen the problem as these structures are already overstretched. Seeking a health-care professional for soft tissue therapies are also a great way to help tackle acute neck pain, as well as providing strategies to avoid a stiff neck from reoccurring.


Adopting these strategies is a great way to help reduce and avoid a painfully stiff neck, at Fortitude Chiropractic we believe that our comprehensive strategies and preventative programs will help you to feel at your best.

Get in touch with our team on (08) 6184 8835 or book online today to find out how to manage your concerns.