The Betterment Project

How To Fall Asleep & Stay Asleep With Neck Pain

Not being able to fall asleep and stay asleep can be a pain in the neck. In fact, between the pain and sleeplessness, you can start to feel pretty desperate for a little reprieve. Desperation can lead you to try many things, but before you buy a bottle of “snake oil,” take some time to find ways that will help you.

Understanding what could be the cause of the pain in your neck, how to ease neck pain before bed, and how to get to sleep if you can’t get out of pain are all important steps to dealing with the pain in your neck that’s keeping you awake.

What’s The Pain In Your Neck?

Neck pain is common for some people at the end of the day. Although there are many causes for neck pain, it could be brought on by activities such as looking at a computer screen all day or driving with bad posture. 

Neck pain is associated with muscle tightness and spasms. Occasionally, neck pain also limits your ability to move your head, and headaches are also a classic sign of neck pain. Sometimes your headache is the biggest thing you notice about the pain in your neck. 

Some common causes of neck pain that could be the culprit:

  • Muscle strains 
  • Deteriorated cartilage between vertebrae
  • Bone spurs
  • Compressed nerves
  • Injury like whiplash

When your neck pain is severe, lasts for several days, spreads into your arms or legs, or causes numbness, weakness, and tingling, it’s probably time to see a doctor. If your neck pain is less concerning but still disrupts your sleep, then it’s important to find ways of easing your neck pain. 

How To Ease Neck Pain Before Bed

Most techniques for
relieving neck pain can be done any time of the day, and when you’re in pain, it’s unlikely that you would want to wait for bedtime to start the relief process. When you’re providing yourself with self-care, here are some important steps for easing neck pain.

1 - Over-the-counter Pain Relievers

For pain relief, it’s hard to overlook the option of
over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium. It’s likely that you already have these on hand and know which one works best for you. Just remember to take them as directed, and if you take them more often than just occasionally, you should mention it to your doctor. 

For a more natural approach, you may want to try Natural Anti-Inflammatory Pills that can soothe pain and stiffness and encourage joint mobility. 

2 - Apply Heat and Ice

When you’re hurting from neck pain, you may feel a bit like George R. R. Martin is writing your life, but take a page from his book A Song of Ice and Fire and alternate treatments on your neck. 20-minute intervals throughout the day will do the trick. It’s best to alternate heat and ice before you head to bed.

Cold treatments can include an ice pack, ice wrapped in a towel, or a bag of frozen vegetables; if you’re desperate, applied directly to the area where you are experiencing pain. After 20 minutes of cold, you can begin your heated treatment. 

Heated treatments can include a hot water bottle, a heating pad on a low setting, a rice sock,  or a hot shower or bath. The ice works to reduce the pain you feel in your neck, and the heat treatment works to relax your muscles so that the pain may decrease.

3 - Topical Treatment

There are topical treatments that you can apply to the affected area. Many of these simulate the effects of cold and hot treatments. Some people avoid using these because of the medicated odor and the stigma associated with them, but if you’ve ever experienced neck pain that is severe enough to disrupt your sleep, stigmas and odors aren’t really at the top of your priority list. 

As with OTC pain relievers, there is a natural alternative to traditional topical treatments as well. Radical Relief Roll-On Pain Relief Gel may relieve any pain in tight necks, sore backs, and other areas where you can develop unwanted pain and need relief. 

4 - Stretching

Stretching should be done after the intensity of your pain subsides. Gently strengthening on a daily basis to help your muscles loosen up a bit and not be as tight when you are in a stagnate position. Your healthcare provider can provide you with information on the proper stretching for your situation. It may help to warm the area prior to stretching through the use of a heating pad. Just remember to be gentle in your movements.

5 - Relax

When you’re experiencing pain, relaxing may be the last thing you think you can do. However, relaxation has a powerful
impact on pain

Some relaxation techniques to try when you’re in pain include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Focusing your attention on something else
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

Deep breathing is one of the best tips to try because not only does it clear your mind by focusing your attention on your breathing, but it also sends oxygenated blood throughout the body, which your areas of pain will thank you for.

6 - Support Yourself

Stabilizing your neck in a proper alignment may also help to alleviate your neck pain. There are special neck pillows to help support your head and neck area symptoms to provide stability and comfort.

Practicing good posture is also recommended for helping your neck find the proper alignment. If you’re unsure what positions are best for your neck, talk to a chiropractor or your general physician with questions or concerns.

How To Fall Asleep if You’re Still in Pain

Unfortunately, sometimes neck pain stays longer than we’d like. It can be very irritating when bedtime rolls around, and your pain seems to rob you of hitting the snooze button. It can also be hard to sleep because it’s difficult to relax the rest of your body when you have one area that won’t relax at all. 

Thankfully, many remedies for treating neck pain will also help you ease up a little, so reaching a state of relaxation isn’t out of the question. If you need a bit more help, you may want to choose a supplement to enhance your efforts to find the sweet relief of sleep. Complete Calm Sleep Gummies use a unique terpene blend to help you feel an immediate calming sensation. 


Other natural ingredients found in these treat-like gummies, like extracts of Chamomile, Lion’s Mane, Rhodiola, Lemon Balm, and Passionflower, work together to help convince your body that sleep is a higher priority than pain. 


Neck pain can make it hard for us to relax and unwind at the end of the day. It’s important to understand the cause of your neck pain and how to help relieve it. Sleep can feel next to impossible when you’re in any kind of pain. Practicing good sleep habits and relaxation techniques can help take your mind off the pain and help get you to fall asleep. 

If you find yourself still unable to sleep, it may be necessary to turn to alternative aids like a sleep supplement to help you finally leave the pain behind and enjoy the restorative power of a good night’s rest. 


Whiplash - Diagnosis and treatment | 

Over-the-counter pain relievers | 

Relaxation and Mindfulness in Pain: A Review | 

Neck pain - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic 

Pain How to soothe a sore neck | Harvard Health 


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This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

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