Best Sleeping Position for Neck Pain

Last Updated May 15, 2023

When you curl up under the blanket at night, you tend to settle into your favorite sleeping position without thinking much about it. But do you really think that one position is better than the other? You are spending one-third of your life sleeping, and if you sleep in the wrong position, there is no doubt that it negatively affects your neck and spine.

best sleeping positions for people with neck pain

Sleeping position - Does it really matter?

latex mattress

Suppose you love sleeping on your stomach and you experience severe neck pain in the morning; what are you going to do? Apply ice, over-the-counter pain medication, stretch, find the right pillow, or change your sleeping position? Your sleeping position does matter more than you think! Change your sleep position first, and if you feel it’s not working, it is high time to change the pillows you are sleeping on.

different sleeping positions

How do you ensure a happy spine?

Tired of waking up in the middle of the night and complaining about neck strain? Well, your sleeping posture has a direct impact on your spine health. The best way to ensure a happy spine is to keep it in a neutral position comfortably so that you can sustain it throughout the night.

A neutral position simply means keeping your spine straight, starting with your head and neck and going all the way down so that there is no extra stress on any part of your body.

Sleeping positions for neck pain relief

We know that you all have the so-called ‘favorite sleeping position.' But if you are someone with neck pain, you should change it. It may be difficult for you in the beginning, but you will become more comfortable when you start following the new position.

If you are someone looking for answers on the best sleeping positions for neck pain, this one's for you. We will begin with the worst position, that is, sleeping on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, you are essentially putting your head at an awkward angle for the entire night. You may have to twist your neck so as to keep your head on its side.

In addition, stomach sleeping puts extra pressure on the nerves and leads to severe neck, shoulder, and back pain. If you want to sleep on your stomach so badly, then try using a thin pillow or no pillow at all to keep awkward angles at a minimum.

A teenager sleeping peacefully

The best sleeping positions for neck pain are usually sleeping on your side or back. Well, these positions are great for any kind of musculoskeletal pain. But the thing is, your pillow should have the right thickness so that it doesn't cause you to bend your head too far forward when you are sleeping on your back or too far to one side when you are sleeping on your side.

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What happens when you sleep on your back?

When you sleep on your back, your head, neck, and spine are aligned in a neutral position, and you stretch your body out evenly on the mattress. At Turmerry, we recommend sleeping on your back as it puts very little pressure on the vertebrae and spine. It evenly distributes weight throughout your body and avoids unnecessary curves in the spine.

Back sleepers should always make sure to use a small pillow underneath your head and neck to keep you aligned and ease neck pain. A cylindrical pillow, preferably a small one, can also support your neck and keep the head neutral on the mattress. But there is something that you should know- sleeping on your back can make you snore.

neck contour pillow

What happens when you sleep on your side?

Sleeping on your side with your legs stretched is an excellent alternative to sleeping on your back, especially if you are someone who is prone to snoring. It is preferable to put a thin pillow in between your legs to align your spine, hips, and pelvis. But, make sure to pay attention to the pillow that you are sleeping on. It should be thick enough to create a straight line starting from your head down to your spine. Your head should not be leaning too far to one side.

If you are sleeping on your back or side, you can try using wool or feather pillows that conform to the shape of your neck. Another option includes memory foam pillows, as they can foster proper spinal alignment. You should avoid using a pillow that is too high or stiff, or else you will end up struggling with morning pain and stiffness.

Difference between good night’s sleep and bad night’s sleep

We all have our own preferred sleep position that we set early in life, and of course, they are very difficult to change. And the fun fact - who is going to wake up in the same position in which they fell asleep? Nobody does, right? But still, it’s always worth trying to start sleeping on your back or side, maintaining a healthy neutral posture.


1. How should I sleep to prevent back and neck pain?

The best way to sleep is on your back with a pillow under your knees. This position takes the pressure off your lower back and provides support for your neck. If you find it difficult to stay in this position, you can try placing a pillow under your lower back for additional support.

Sleeping on your side is also a good option, but be sure to keep a pillow between your knees to avoid putting strain on your hips and back.

Whatever position you choose, make sure that your pillow is supportive enough and comfortable. A good pillow will help keep your spine aligned and prevent you from tossing and turning all night.

2. Is it better for your neck to sleep without a pillow?

Your sleep position can make a big difference in whether or not sleeping without a pillow is a good idea for you.

Back and side sleepers, for example, need a pillow to support their neck and spine. Otherwise, they may end up with pain or stiffness in the morning. Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, can often benefit from ditching the pillow.

3. Should your neck be elevated when sleeping?

Many experts recommend sleeping with your neck elevated in order to reduce pain and stiffness. By elevating your head, you can take pressure off of your spine and improve your circulation. In addition, sleeping with your neck elevated can help to reduce snoring and prevent GERD symptoms.

However, make sure that you don't use pillows that are too high or stiff, as this can do more harm than good to your neck.

4. What are the best sleep positions for neck pain?

There are two different sleeping positions that are generally considered to be the best for neck pain: side and back sleeping.

Side sleeping allows the spine to rest in a neutral position and maintain the natural curve of your body, which takes the pressure off of the neck and shoulders. Back sleeping is also a good option for neck pain, as it helps to keep the spine well aligned.

natural and organic pillows

5. Which is the worst sleeping position for neck pain?

According to experts, the worst sleeping position for neck pain is on your stomach. This position puts pressure on the neck muscles and can lead to stiffness and soreness.

If you must sleep on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your hips to relieve some of the pressure on your back.

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Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.