My Neck Hurts While Lying in Bed Watching a Movie: How to Find Relief?

If you love relaxing in bed and watching movies, you’re not alone. However, this cozy pastime can lead to neck pain if you’re not careful. As you lie there staring up at the screen, the strain on your neck builds up over time. Before you know it, you have a stiff, sore neck.

The good news is there are things you can do to avoid and alleviate this nuisance neck pain. With a few simple adjustments and remedies, you can lie in bed watching movies without hurting your neck. Here are some tips to try:

Choose Your Props Wisely

The height and angle of your screen play a big role in neck strain. Prop your phone, tablet or laptop on a stack of pillows or books to raise it closer to eye level. This prevents excessive craning of your neck to see the screen. Avoid holding the device in your hands or resting it flat on your chest.

You can also invest in a bed tray table or a mount that positions your screen where you can see it comfortably without straining. These accessories are designed to allow hands-free viewing from bed.

Use Neck Support

Lying flat without any neck support lets your head fall back, forcing your neck into an unnatural position. Use a soft, cylindrical neck pillow or roll up a towel to cradle your neck. The light support helps align your head, neck and spine.

If you prefer lying on your side, place a thicker pillow between your shoulder and ear. This keeps your neck in a neutral posture as you watch your movie.

Take Frequent Breaks

Binge-watching for hours on end inevitably leads to neck stiffness and pain. Get into the habit of pressing pause every 20-30 minutes. Do some gentle neck stretches or walks around your room to reset your posture.

Setting a reminder on your phone is an easy way to remember to take regular viewing breaks. This gives the muscles in the back of your neck a chance to fully relax before returning to the screen.

Adjust Your Screen Brightness

Straining to see a dim screen can cause you to crane your neck closer. Turn up the brightness so you can clearly see the picture without squinting or uncomfortably leaning toward the screen. But don’t make it so bright that it strains your eyes.

Position a lamp or install bias lighting behind your screen to illuminate your display. The ambient glow lets you comfortably view the screen in a darker room.

Do Neck Exercises and Stretches

Simple neck stretches can alleviate muscle tightness and pain that develops while lying in bed. Do chin tucks by pulling your chin down toward your chest, holding for 10 seconds.

Slowly tilt your ear toward your shoulder on each side to provide a gentle neck stretch. Gently rotate your neck in each direction too.

You can also get relief from neck rolls. Drop your head forward, then slowly roll it clockwise and counterclockwise.

Apply Heat or Ice

The application of heat or ice helps relax muscle spasms and tension in your neck. A microwavable neck wrap, warm towel or hot water bottle can provide soothing heat therapy. Apply for 10-15 minutes for best results.

Alternatively, ice packs wrapped in cloth constrict blood vessels and numb soreness. Use an ice pack for 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off. Don’t apply ice directly on the skin.

Get a Massage

Ask your partner or friend to rub and knead the tight, painful areas on your neck and shoulders. A handheld massager with options for heating and vibration can also do wonders for neck tension.

Schedule an appointment with a massage therapist if your neck pain persists. They can target trigger points and knots with massage techniques like effleurage, compression and acupressure.

Adjust Your Sleeping Posture

The way you sleep directly impacts how your neck feels. Use a thin pillow that keeps your neck aligned, rather than propped up too high. Avoid sleeping on your stomach which twists the neck.

Sleeping on your back with a supportive pillow is ideal. Or place a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side to prevent your neck from tilting. Waking up with neck pain can carry over and affect your comfort watching movies in bed.


Neck discomfort doesn’t have to get in the way of your favorite lazy pastime. With a few tweaks and remedies, you can say goodbye to nagging pain while lying in bed watching movies. Pay attention to neck support, posture, positioning and regular movement. Enduring the minor hassle is worth the ability to fully relax and enjoy your ideal movie night.