• Preston Brown, DPT, GCS

"Why Sleeping Can Cause Neck Pain, And What You Can Do To Ease That..."

Updated: Jun 14, 2019



Neck pain can be annoying, and when left untreated, it can start to become a real nuisance that affects you throughout the day. It is common to wake up with discomfort, and you may also have symptoms at work, while driving and when “relaxing” in front of the TV which makes it hard to find a period in the day where you feel at ease and comfortable.

Your neck supports some of the most vital parts of your body, the skull and the brain. Not forgetting that the top of your neck is where your nerves begin.

As a physical therapy provider, we often speak with people who put up with neck pain for months and sometimes years, but implementing simple strategies like proper sleep positioning can be vital. Statistics show, we all spend about one-third of our lives asleep, so it's essential we comfortable to get a great night's sleep!


One of the quickest ways to self-inflict neck pain and stiffness is sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, the spine is twisted in all sorts of ways. If you sleep like this all night, it’s no surprise you wake up feeling stiff and sore.


Also, sleeping on your stomach, puts your neck in an over-arched position, causing your neck muscles to tighten up and work even harder throughout a full night’s sleep. Your head and neck should be well supported by pillows overnight.


Here are some sleep positions you could try TONIGHT...


Side sleepers: the width of your shoulders should indicate the number of pillows you use. The neck should rest in a neutral position in line with the

rest of your spine.


Back sleepers: consider how your neck and head are positioned once laying down. You shouldn’t need more than one pillow if you spend the whole night snoring away on your back!


Front sleepers: change to one of the above. Sleeping on your front is usually the most uncomfortable position for your neck.


Too few or too many pillows cause the neck to stretch, placing muscles and joints in positions, they don’t want to be in.


Ideas to try...


The rolled towel: place a rolled towel along the base of your

pillowcase, this can provide excellent support for your neck. This rolled towel can be as thick or thin as you need it to provide support for your neck.


The upside down 'V': 2 pillows in an upside down V. Your shoulders will

fit into the space between the pillows, and the head will rest on the pillows or tip of the 'V'.


A good nights’ sleep does wonders for general health and lowering your overall body irritability, so it's vital to consider supportive sleep positions.


Physical therapy is an effective alternative in addressing neck issues and addressing areas that may be contributing to the problem as it relates to limiting restful sleep and other daily activities. If you or your loved one is suffering from neck pain it is highly recommended to consult a medical professional to discuss the problem.

Physical therapy will be an excellent solution for your current situation. If you live in the Greater Milwaukee area and would like to learn more about how physical therapy or a trained physical therapist can help you, please reach out to us by emailing info@prestigetherapywellness.com or if you would like to arrange a FREE phone call with a physical therapist CLICK HERE.

Talk more soon!!


Preston, PT


P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your neck which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to download my free neck pain tips report which includes actionable tips I give to my patients at Prestige Therapy and Wellness, LLC. Click here to get your free copy: https://prestigetherapywellness.lpages.co/neck-pain-freebie/


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