Fix your sleeping position for neck pain

Best sleeping position for neck pain, we will teach you how. Photo shows woman with neck pain.

At some point, almost every person you meet has experienced a stiff or sore neck, in this article you will read about the best sleeping position for neck pain.

With a few simple changes to your sleeping position, you could be on your way to a more comfortable and healthy life.

We have all experienced stiff neck or neck pain at some point in our lives.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, neck and back pain are some of the most common bone and muscle injuries affecting adults.

Although they sometimes go away on their own, they can become chronic, affecting your sleep quality.

The first option to explore when looking to minimize your neck pain or reduce the risk of aggravating the situation is to look at your sleeping positions.

Best Sleeping Positions

Though health specialists might insist too much on using a recommended sleeping position, this can be difficult for those who find it hard to adjust to better sleeping positions. 

So, your recommended sleeping position might not be suitable for you if it is not comfortable.

Remember that you are always supposed to sleep in a position that helps you rest. 

Following the information here may help you in your efforts to get a good peaceful night’s sleep without waking up with a sore and painful neck. 

Alignment is the key to a good posture while sleeping.

You are supposed to keep your hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight line.

However, the spaces left between your body and mattress may strain your back.

That is where a pillow comes in handy. Besides, you cannot sleep in one position throughout the night.

People often sleep while moving around.

And, worrying about keeping a single body sleeping position should not be a thing to worry about. 

While you move more frequently, you should keep more pillows to comfort you and support the vulnerable areas while you are asleep in various positions.

The neck and the back are always the body parts affected by the sleeping positions you choose to use.

The sleeping position you decide to use is strongly related to the quality of sleep you get.

Since you determine your sleeping position very early in life, switching to another position can be quite a challenging task.

However, after sleeping in a new position over time, the new sleeping position becomes more comfortable.

Best sleeping postures for back pains

Your back widely determines the best position you should use for it. 

The sleeping position you should use to ensure a good sleep should distribute your body weight along the spine.

By placing a pillow under your knees, maintaining the spine’s natural curve is easy and possible.

The people who are used to sleeping on their side, having a firm pillow in between the knees helps to maintain how naturally aligned the hips, spine, and pelvis should be. 

Therefore, when you are accustomed to side sleeping, trying to alternate sides is good because it brings different results and prevents scoliosis.

Additionally, those people who are used to side sleeping in a fetal curled-up position may be significantly saved from the risk of herniated disc pain.

For back pains, lying on your stomach is reflected as the worst sleeping position. 

When you find it challenging to change a sleeping position, placing a thin pillow underneath your abdomen and hips to improve how the spine is well aligned is essential.

Reasons why you should not sleep while lying on your stomach

Lying on your stomach is considered to be one of the worst sleeping positions.

Lying on your stomach strains your spine and causes pain to your neck since you have to turn your head on one side to breathe.

This could get your head and spine out of alignment, which could have detrimental effects.

Diagram showing the right and wrong way to sleep

The best sleeping positions for pain in the neck

The most accessible sleeping position that is easiest on your neck is sleeping using the side or the back.

When sleeping using the back, you should ensure that you have used a pillow that supports the neck’s curvature. 

Choosing a round pillow to help your neck’s natural curve or a flatter pillow cushioning your head is very important.

You can achieve this by tucking a slight neck roll into the pillow casing of a softer, flatter pillow or using one unique pillow that consists of built-in neck support with an indentation that allows the head to rest in.

Some of the additional tips back and side sleepers use include;

–  using a horseshoe-shaped pillow to create support for the neck and avoid your head from falling to one side when you are dozing is very important when sleeping, riding a train, car, or plane or reclining to watch your best tv episodes.

– When sleeping on the side, you are supposed to ensure that your spine is straight by using higher pillows under the head’s neck. 

– You should avoid using the pillows that are either too stiff or too high since they keep the neck in a flexed position all night and are likely to result in stiffness and morning pains.

– Also, you can use a horseshoe-shaped pillow that has memory foam to conform to the contours of your neck and head.

The companies that manufacture memory foam pillows claim that they are essential in helping to foster appropriate alignment of the spine. 

Using feather pillows are not recommended as feather pillows are known to collapse over time and need be replaced often.  

Sleeping in an upright position makes many people find relief from pain in the neck and the back.

Sleeping in this position is common among pregnant women.

Cervical Roll

One of my favorites for alleviating symptoms from injury or chronic pain is using an appropriately sized cervical roll to help maintain a neutral neck position.

This type of pillow is long and thin, so it can be placed underneath your neck while keeping the spine straight.

Tips to help you reduce neck pain and get a good night’s sleep

Here are a few tips on how you can help you get a good night’s sleep.

1. Ensure that your pillow height matches your sleeping position

If you are the kind of person that sleeps on their back, a thin pillow is the most ideal.

You can test if it suits you by telling your spouse or any other family member to take a picture of your neck’s curvature.

The curvature should look similar to when you are standing in the correct posture.

If you are a side sleeper, you can get a slightly thicker pillow to ensure your head is in the middle of your shoulders.

2. Avoid using your phone while in bed

Using your phone before going to bed is not advisable since you usually bend your head down to look at the phone.

This exerts more pressure on the cervical spine leading to a condition commonly referred to as text neck.

Female sleeping with a memory foam pillow


In conclusion, it’s worth trying out a few different positions to see what works best for you!

In the U.S, about 20 – 70% of individuals suffer from neck pain throughout their life.

So the best sleeping position for neck pain is a combination of side and back.

This will provide both stability (which may reduce or eliminate your pain) as well as pressure relief. 

To sum up: For neck and back pain, it is best to sleep on your back or side with a pillow under your head and one between your knees.  

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