Poor Posture – During the day while tied to a desk chair or any sort of nonactive seating, you may be suffering from having poor posture thus resulting in the lower back as well as lower neck discomfort. The spinal cord running down your back can affect many different parts of the body, including the neck when it is strained.
Pillow – The pillow’s main job is to support your head and neck while you are resting. If it is not doing its job properly, then neck pains will most definitely be an issue when you wake. “A pillow that doesn’t support your head and neck properly can create tension in your neck muscles, and cause neck pain.”
Injury – Any previous injury to your neck may not manifest itself right away, but after sleeping it can feel stiff or sore to move. There is not likely much to be done in this setting to prevent the pain, other than being aware of any potential injury which occurred previously that could be the cause of your pain.
Sudden Movement – During active REM sleep, you are often unaware of any jerking or quick motion movements of your body. As such, there may be instances where your body was simply unprepared for that sudden impulse of activity, leading to a sore or stiff neck in the morning. Likewise, tossing and turning while sleeping can also cause a strain in the neck muscles. There is little to remedy this from happening, but to be aware of the possibilities which cause your pain can help to eliminate what larger issues you may be encountering.
Sleep Position – This is a very likely culprit to the sudden onset of neck pain when you wake up. “Sleeping on your stomach is tough on your spine because the back is arched and your neck is turned to the side.” When you sleep on your side, you may also not be supporting your spine very well, so be aware of how you sleep to put as little stress on the spine as possible as sleeping is immobility for a long stretch of time on the body. You could be laying in the same unsupported position for hours on end creating a stressful environment for your back.