Why Does My Ear Hurt When I Sleep On It?

Why Does My Ear Hurt When I Sleep On It?

Posted by Dr. Cannon on Aug 20th 2022

If your ear hurt after sleep, chances are you are either sleeping on one side for too long, you have a rigid pillow, or there is an underlying ear ailment.

If you don’t have any ear ailment and still your ears hurt after sleep, you may need to look into it closely to spot the problem.

Some people have fragile ears and they get ear pain even with little pressure. If you happened to be like that, and you are a side sleeper too, chances are your ears hurt when you sleep on it.

There are four possible reasons for ear pain after sleep.

  • You sleep on one side for too long
  • You have a rigid pillow that hurts your ears
  • You have friable, elastic ear cartilage
  • You have an underlying ear ailment

We will look into each of these reasons and see how you can get rid of the ear pain after sleep.

Why Does My Ear Hurt When I Sleep On It?

Sleeping on One Side for too Long

Side sleepers are at a higher risk of getting ear pain as they might sleep on either side for the whole night.

Sometime, when we are tired, we may not turn sides frequently. When our ear is getting squeezed under the weight of our head for long hours, the outer ear muscles may crumble and cause ear pain.

This type of ear pain goes away after some time. If it doesn’t, consult an ENT and see why your outer ear is not healing on its own.

In rare cases, you may need to use pain killer medicine for this ear pain.

Rigid Pillow

A rigid pillow puts unnecessary pressure on your ear.

Your outer ear muscles are soft. They keep aching after a single hard touch.

A rigid pillow below your ear and the weight of your head over it squeezes your ears. Your outer ear muscles crush and cause ear pain.

The solution is to replace your pillow with a soft pillow for a few nights and see if the ear pain disappears. If this works, it's great; if not, consult your doctor to see if you have any ear ailment causing this ear pain.

Try SleepEasy Cotton Comfort Pillow for a few nights to get rid of rigid pillow ear pain. 

SleepEasy CNH Pillow® Cotton Comfort

Friable Ear Cartilage Pain

Friable ear cartilage makes your ear supple and prone to pain.

Ear cartilage is what we mean when we say ears. Friable ear cartilage gets hurt if you are using a hard pillow or you are a side sleeper and a sound sleeper.

If we feel sharp pain and swelling in the ear at the night, turn sides and see if the pain and swelling go.

Consider consulting your doctor if the ear cartilage pain stays for days. You may need professional medical advice and treatment in some cases.

Underlying Ear Ailment

Maybe you have an underlying ear ailment that causes ear pain in the morning.

When you have an ear problem, a solution like sleeping on the other side or using a soft pillow may not work. You will need to treat your underlying ear condition first.

Many ear problems disturb sleep and your doctor can diagnose the disease and advice a suitable treatment.

If changing your pillow or not sleeping on one side for long is not helping, consult your doctor to heal the underlying ear problem.