The average American spends around five hours per day on their phone; and for many people this includes time spent browsing their phones while lying in bed.

There are three categories of neck pain: acute, subacute, and chronic. Read: Diagnosing Neck Pain

You may not think twice about using your phone in bed, but here are two reasons to avoid this harmful practice if you suffer from neck pain:

See Chronic Neck Pain: What Condition Is Causing My Neck Pain?


1. Phone use strains your neck

When you tilt your head forward to text or browse the internet on your phone, it places strain on the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your neck. This may not seem like a big deal, but consider the following: when your head is in a neutral position, roughly 10 to 12 pounds of force is placed on your neck muscles. But if you hold your head at a 60 degree angle while using your phone, about 60 pounds of force is exerted on your neck.

See Neck Strain: Causes and Remedies

What does this mean for you? If you already suffer from neck pain, using your phone in bed may aggravate your symptoms. This in turn can make it harder for you to fall asleep. Additionally, excessive phone use can result in wear-and-tear damage known as text neck.

See Text Neck Treatment and Prevention

If you have to use your phone in bed, limit the time spent on your phone and try to hold your device at eye level.

See How Does Text Neck Cause Pain?

2. Blue light from your phone can inhibit your sleep

The blue light from your phone inhibits your body's natural release of melatonin, which can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.

See Addressing Pain and Medical Problems Disrupting Sleep

Less sleep is a serious problem for people who suffer from chronic neck pain. The reason for this is that a lack of sleep can make your pain worse, and in turn more severe pain can make it harder to fall asleep. Thus, you may find yourself trapped in a frustrating cycle of pain and sleeplessness.

See Chronic Pain and Insomnia: Breaking the Cycle

To help avoid the disruptive effects of blue light, avoid using your phone or other electronic device within at least 1 hour of your bedtime.

See Practicing Good Sleep Hygiene

Bad habits can be hard to break, but a good night's rest is an important component of managing your neck pain. So ditch the bad habit of using your phone in bed and you may find significant relief from your neck pain.

Watch: 3 Simple Ways to Indulge Your Spine

Learn more:

Pillows for Neck Pain

Pain and Sleeping Problems Need to be Treated Together