Neck pain after sleeping
Millions of people suffer from neck pain and tension after sleeping and start the day with little rest despite getting enough sleep. Here you can find out what causes the painful muscle aches and pains in the morning and which simple tips you can use to prevent tension or provide quick relief.
Table of Contents
- Neck pain in the morning
- Causes of neck pain after sleep
- Tips against neck tension after getting up
- Preventive measures
- Tips for immediate help
1. Neck pain in the morning
Neck pain and tension are widespread and a common phenomenon, especially in the morning. It is estimated that every third person suffers from painful tension in the neck area at least once a year and we all know that feeling of waking up with a stiff neck, unpleasant pain when moving or even a headache and having to start the day more exhausted than relaxed. As a result of the uncomfortable night, we not only suffer from oppressive, stabbing or pulling neck pain during the day, but also feel physically restricted or fight against the consequences of poor sleep, for example tiredness, lack of energy or problems concentrating and paying attention. An uncomfortable night also affects sleep itself, because the tension in the morning is often not only the result of a lack of regeneration, but can also be a main reason why, despite a sufficiently long night's sleep, we don't get the rest we deserve.
The causes of muscular tension in the neck area are varied and also depend on whether the symptoms are present before going to bed or only appear after sleep.
2. Causes of neck pain after sleeping
Wrong sleeping position / unhealthy sleeping posture
One of the most common causes of neck pain after sleep is improper sleeping posture at night. Staying in a certain position for too long can have a negative effect on our back and neck. A natural and healthy position of the body and especially the head, neck and shoulder areas is therefore essential for restful sleep and makes a decisive contribution to our muscles being able to relax at night. Only then can the muscle cells and muscle tissue be rebuilt during sleep and damage to cells or fibers repaired. For a healthy sleeping posture, the shoulders and cervical spine should be at right angles to each other and the head and spine should form a straight line up to the pelvis.
Our pillow, the mattress and our preferred sleeping position determine the posture in which we spend the night and how particularly our sensitive cervical spine is positioned during sleep. The wrong pillow and a mattress that is too firm or too soft can cause kinking or spraining of the cervical vertebrae, increased pressure on the lumbar spine and uncomfortable muscle tension. This means that sleep is less restful and morning neck tension is almost inevitable.
Lack of movement/mobility
We humans are simply not made to sit still for hours and without exercise, our muscles cannot get enough oxygen and nutrients. A lack of movement or an incorrect posture in everyday life often means that our joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons do not function optimally and stiffening, tension or pain occur more quickly. This not only affects our well-being, but also our sleep! Because especially at night, a lack of physical relaxation stands in the way of sleep itself and all the important recovery processes. Numerous studies also show that regular exercise and physical activity during the day have a positive effect on our sleep and help us fall asleep. You can find out more about this in this article of our sleep magazine.
Stress & lack of relaxation
We all know that lack of relaxation and prolonged stress have a negative effect on sleep, make it difficult to fall asleep and disrupt the natural sleep process. This also prevents the energy stores in our muscle cells from being filled and the muscle tissue from regenerating sufficiently. In addition, inner tension, restlessness, fears and depression can contribute directly to tension in the neck muscles and lead to pain in the neck and head area even before going to bed.
Poor sleeping climate
An unsuitable sleeping climate and drafts promote the development of colds and can also cause painful muscle tension. At night we lose a lot of heat and moisture through our skin and breathing. When a cold draft hits sweaty or damp skin, it can quickly lead to a stiff neck and painful blockages, especially in summer or when using air conditioning and fans.
3. Tips against neck pain after getting up
#1 Keep moving
Depending on everyday life, job or state of health, it is not always easy to get enough exercise during the day. In order to prevent muscle tension or joint stiffness, you should still try not to remain in a certain position for too long and avoid sitting or standing for long hours. This works best if we regularly integrate short breaks, walks or Sport into our everyday life and take the stairs instead of the elevator more often.
#2 Reduce Stress
Stress and inner restlessness prevent relaxation in the evening and quickly lead to a tense posture, which causes tension and blockages to develop overnight. It is therefore particularly important in the evening to leave the stress of everyday life behind so that body and mind can rest and slowly prepare for sleep. You can read here some tips for relaxing before going to bed.
#3 Choose the right pillow
A healthy and comfortable sleeping position contributes significantly to a relaxed feeling in the morning. The pillow determines the position of our head during sleep and, at best, ensures that our sensitive cervical spine is well positioned and protected at night. This allows the muscles, ligaments and tendons to relax and reduces the pressure on our bones and joints, so that a pain-free sleep is possible and the development of headaches, stiff muscles or severe tension in the head, neck and shoulders is prevented.
We'll give you helpful tips for finding a pillow that's perfect for you in the following articles in our sleep magazine: Your pillow guide | The optimal pillow height | What is the best sleeping position?
Or start our handy pillow advisor and find out in less than 30 seconds which of our smart® PILLOWS might suit you best.
Tips for immediate help against neck pain
#1 Heat & Massages
Heat and gentle massages promote blood circulation and loosen muscle tissue. In this way, stuck fascia and muscle fibers can be relaxed and painful tension can be gently released. Already in the evening before going to bed or in the morning with acute pain, you can treat neck pain with a warming balm, small cherry stone pillows or a hot bath and gentle massage movements.
#2 stretching, loosening and stretching exercises
Light stretching or relaxation exercises can not only be used preventively, but also help to activate the body immediately after getting up and to slowly warm up the muscles again after a night of inactivity. A short stretch in the morning can therefore be very effective in mobilizing the spine and loosening tense muscle tissue. In this way, the circulatory system is also slowly ramped up, blood circulation and metabolism are boosted and we can wake up and be active faster. And even if you don't have much time after getting up: Some quick basic exercises can be safely integrated into your (evening and) morning routine and can easily but effectively help to combat nasty neck pain after sleeping .
Neck pain in the morning is widespread and often due to an unhealthy sleeping position, an unsuitable pillow, lack of everyday exercise, stress or a bad sleeping climate.
To prevent neck problems in the morning, you should keep moving during the day, reduce stress and adopt a healthy sleeping position at night with the right pillow.
Heat treatments, massages and simple loosening and stretching exercises help to relax in the evening and to deal with acute tension after sleeping.
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