How to Avoid Neck Pain while Sleeping
Nobody wants to wake up with a stiff neck after a nights sleep. It can lead to a day of discomfort and perhaps even a headache.
It can literally be a complete pain in the neck!
Does this ever happen to you? If so then you’ll know already that it is not the best way to start the day. When you wake up with a stiff neck it really can get the day off on the wrong foot. A groggy head and a stiff neck can put a dampener on a potentially productive day.
Are you waking up with neck pain often? Then you will know how the pain can, in some cases, radiate up and away from your neck and into the head and then even end up causing a headache.
The irritating pain can also travel down into the shoulders and on into your mid back and be so uncomfortable that it impedes your day and effects your mood. This type of neck and shoulder pain after sleep is commonly caused simply by an interrupted night in a bad sleeping position and perhaps exacerbated by poor pillows and a bad quality mattress.
It can be so frustrating and demoralising to suffer continually with no effective relief. The cycle of cause and effect seems perpetual at times and in a lot of cases, it could have been prevented so easily and that’s the annoying thing about it.
We can tackle this from several perspectives prevention, recovery and care.
In this article I will explain to you some simple ways that you could prevent neck pain while sleeping, recover from discomfort and put plans into place for breaking the cycle of pain you may be experiencing.
Some things to do that are quite clear and straightforward. Implementing some new habits and applying some small changes can sometimes make all the difference.
I will show you some ideas which are easy to follow and implement.
7 Facts and Statistics About Sleep
But first some handy facts about sleep, quality of sleep and things that effect sleep and what a bad nights sleep can end up causing. This infographic should at least make you feel that you are not alone and give you some key fact and figures and some good reasons to implement change.
Sleep problems and positions, the quality and type of pillows you choose and the mattress you sleep on can all potentially be the cause neck pain.
Neck pain can also occur from chronic or acute injuries which are exacerbated by the wrong pillows, poor sleep habits and unsuitable positions.
So, in most cases, the aim is to avoid and find our how to avoid neck pain while sleeping, to prevent it happening in the first place is the ultimate goal. However, if you are recovering form a chronic or acute episode or injury then this discomfort could interfere with your sleep for a time.
Some practical advice, a few good new habits and perhaps a correct and well informed purchase or two will set you on the road to recovery more quickly though.
Is it Better to Sleep with or Without a Pillow and Thoughts about Mattresses
So, what the solution? Where do you start?
Lets talk about mattresses, beds and pillows. Expensive investments but worth every penny spent on them. We spend on average 8 hours a day tucked up in our beds, that is a massive 1/3rd of our lives in our nests.
We spend more time researching and investing in a flat screen television or a car than we do in the quality and upkeep of our sleeping appliances.
Simple things like reviewing the age and quality of your pillows and mattress on a regular basis. Taking a long overdue look at the condition of them is a good place to begin making improvements and reaping some rewards.
And yes, better with a pillow than without. It just matters that that pillow is earning it’s keep.
Manage those Pillows
A few other key considerations for a peaceful night and a pain free day are as follows:
•It is advisable to avoid using a pillow which is too stiff or high. This can create a bad angle for your neck
•If you sleep on your side predominately then choose a pillow that is higher under the neck area of support than the head area. This will improve positioning and support
•A feather pillow will mould and shape to your neck area well. It may be a choice that suits you well
•Use a pillow that is medium firmness and not too soft as this can lead to neck muscle strain. Fully investigate memory foam and orthopaedic pillow choices. Again, seek advice. A good practitioner or chiropractor will either loan a sample pillow, try before you buy. Or they may have a sale or return policy. Just ask.
•In severe and persistent cases of neck pain try a small hand towel rolled under the neck area. This can offer a little additional support. Place the towel inside the pillowcase nestled under the neck arch to keep it in place.
I can not reiterate strongly enough the fact that you must ask advice and seek suitable personalised solutions. Everyone is different and what suits one person may or may not be the most ideal option for you.
I think it is a really important part of my service to offer endless advice on guidance on these restorative and preventative measures to all muy chiropractic patients.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Take advice from an independent bedding shop or a professional in that specific field of expertise. Gather information and make good choices that suit you.
Seek verbal advice, research on line and then visit the shop or outlet store in person to try beds and pillows out before buying. Ask a chiropractor or medical practitioner what kind of products they would advise. Don’t hold back on the research and don’t be afraid to ask advice.
Investing time and money at this stage will save possible wasted time, a wrong purchase, regretful pain and any discomfort later.
Which Position Should You Sleep in?
Sleeping positions can have a surprising effect on neck pain. Twisted positions and lack of support can all cause problems. Changing habits can take time but are habits worth reviewing and something as simple as adjusting pillow positions and support can sometimes solve things almost instantly. Small changes make for big results.
•Avoid sleeping on your stomach. This arches your back and your neck will naturally twist to the side. If you fall asleep in this position it is one of the worst positions to wake up in.
•Pay attention to your sleep positions and pillows. If your neck pain is caused by an injury or chronic condition like arthritis, consider consulting a chiropractor or medical practitioner for advice. A series of stretching and strengthening exercises will help the muscles that support the neck may help you feel better. This is a consideration if neck pain becomes a regular occurrence.
Which Side Should you Sleep on?
Another common question I am often asked is which side should you sleep on. Really, while pain is acute it makes sense to sleep on the opposite side to the pain and as things recover to return to normal habits.
Eventually, with good neck support, it should be equally comfortable to sleep on both sides.
Things to Avoid and Habits to Embrace for a Comfortable Nights Sleep
Form good sleep rituals and routines. Keep a regular bedtime and relax ready for sleep. Prepare to unwind by avoiding television and computer time and it is a commonly known fact that reading a book has a soporific effect and helps lead gently into a deep and restful sleep which will be relaxed and restorative and is thus one of the simpler ways to help prevent neck pain while sleeping.
Retiring and waking at the same time every day are good habits to form. It is also advisable to including regular exercise into your day. Finally, try to avoid excess caffeine and alcohol and screen time too near bed time.
Neck Pain Advice for Prevention and Care
Prevention of neck pain is preferable. It is better to take steps to avoid neck pain occurring. However neck pain is a common occurrence so sometimes it’s necessary to explore how to sleep with a stiff neck which is causing you discomfort and avoid making it worse. The try to prevent it happening again.
The aim is to be as comfortable as possible in everyday life, especially during those all important hours spent asleep. Maintain those goals, keep your eyes on the prize! Which for all of us has to be mobility and comfort, living without pain and discomfort, prevention and repair as and when necessary.
What to do and How to Avoid and Prevent neck Pain while Sleeping
So in conclusion. We have talked about preventing, avoiding and even accommodating neck pain either while sleeping or as a result of bad sleep habits.
•Invest in good quality supportive or orthopaedic pillows. Memory foam or firm type or feather depending on your needs.
•Money spent on a buy-once-buy-well mattress is money well spent. Get good advice on pillows and mattresses before you buy, it will be invaluable.
•If your neck pain is caused by a recent injury or if it a long and persistent problem then it is advisable to contact a chiropractor for advice or treatment. The British Chiropractic Association has a list of registered chiropractors.
•Observe and accommodate your sleep positions while nursing an injury and then work to change them as you recover and pain decreases. This will safeguard you and help prevent neck pain while sleeping in the future
•If need be seek restorative and preventative advice and possible treatment from a chiropractor.
Retrieving, Restoring and Maintaining that Spring in your Step
A few simple and sensible changes will reap rewards. Don’t underestimate the value of good advice from a reputable medical practitioner or chiropractor, mattress manufacturer, bed shop or department store,
My advice is virtually the same as it has always been in over 30 years of practice “Be proactive, make changes and investments. Stay positive and know that your health and mobility are of paramount importance in this day and age. These guidelines are achievable and more importantly maintainable with good and proper advice and actions.”
Follow some of this advice and this way you will be preventing potential neck pain while sleeping and wake up fresh as a daisy with that all important spring in your step.