Neck pain from sleeping
After a good night’s sleep instead of getting up fresh and rejuvenated, sometimes you get up with a sore, stiff, and painful neck.
It can spoil your day and, if not cured, can continue for a few days.
The muscles of the neck and shoulder are all tensed up, and you do not know why so? There can be several reasons for this, and it is essential to identify the right cause and take corrective action.
The sleep positions affect other biological functions also, and it is worthwhile to know about them.
Reasons for neck pain from sleeping
A wrong sleeping position is one of the main reasons for neck pain. The prone sleeping position places a lot of stress on the vertebra and the neck muscles because the neck is locked in one awkward position for hours.
Another reason for the neck pain from sleeping could be an unsuitable pillow, which is not able to hold the neck in line with the spine. Any position or reason, which deviates the position of the neck too much from the general spinal cord line will lead to stress on the neck muscle and shoulders.
Whenever the height of the pillow raises the head much higher above the neck, it will result in tension and stress on the neck muscles and lead to persistent pain.
Flinging the arms in sleep or getting up with a sudden jerk, can also result in a stiff neck. Too much tossing in the bed can also be a reason for neck pain.
Sometimes neck pain from sleeping is not related to sleep but could be due to lousy body postures in the day.
Medical conditions of osteoarthritis and the pinched nerve can also be the underlying cause of neck pain.
How to sleep with neck pain?
The most common reason for neck pain from sleeping is a wrong position of the body in sleep. The best way to sleep with neck pain is in a supine position( your back to the bed and chest to the ceiling.) Even in this position, the head should not slouch on your chest, nor should it be held too high.
Supine sleep position
An optimum position of the head, in line with the body, can be maintained using an appropriate pillow, which supports the neck and head in such a way that they are in line. This sleep position relaxes the neck and shoulder muscles.
Feather pillows or memory foam pillows will be able to do the job much better than regular cotton or foam pillows. Contoured cervical pillows are the best pillow to sleep in supine positions.
The other advantage of sleeping supine is it prevents acid reflux. Keep the head in a way, that oesophagus is little higher than the stomach and heartburn is avoided.
Interestingly, it helps reduce wrinkles on the face. The face in the supine position opens up and spreads to improve blood circulation. Supine sleep reduces breast sag also.
However, the tendency to snore and restricted breath increases in the supine position. It may also lead to some pain in the lower back in the long run.
Sideways sleep position
The next best position of sleep, if you have neck pain, is sleeping sideways.
Along with the head pillow, place a small round pillow or a rolled towel under your neck. It supports the neck and aligns it with the spine.
Placing a pillow between your knees will ensure perfect alignment of the spine and reduced chances of neck pain.
You also need to consider the width of your shoulder to decide the height of the pillow. Raise the pillow height if you have broad shoulders.
The sideways of sleeping reduces snoring. It can also keep the acid reflux at bay.
This position is suitable for pregnant mothers as it aids the fetal growth and development. Digestion improves because of side sleeping. Toxin drain from the lymph glands is better. Blood circulation also improves in the side sleep position. It also helps the brain filter out metabolic wastes.
However, the chances of developing wrinkles and sagged breast increases with side sleeping.
The contoured side sleeper bed is an excellent option for compulsive side sleepers.
But in no case should you sleep prone. It is bound to aggravate the neck pain further if you have one.
Other Precautions And Measures To Reduce Neck Pain From Sleeping
Along with the bed, the mattress also plays an essential role in the spine alignment while sleeping. The mattress should be moderately firm to hold the body well.
Refrain from lousy body posture during the day, either sitting, walking or standing. If you cannot hold yourself in a good sitting posture, invest in an ergonomic chair. These chairs will help you correct your poses.
Never hold the phone between your tilted head and the shoulder. It is bound to aggravate neck pain.
Stretch your neck for flexibility before you retire to the bed.
Keep away from the phone about an hour before bedtime. Usage of phone poses stress on eyes, mind and the neck and hampers sound sleep.
You can also take a warm shower or apply heat to your neck just before sleeping. It will bring in the sense of relief and lead you to a night of deep, peaceful sleep. Deep sleep alleviates pain.
The sleep environment dramatically affects the quality of sleep. Neat and clean bed space with a pleasant aroma will help you feel relaxed. Ensure good ventilation and maintain proper temperature in your bedroom.
Get into the habit of exercising your neck and the whole body every day, if possible. It will maintain the flexibility and poise of the body and increase muscle strength to endure routine posture abuse or strain.
Hydrate yourself well.
Simple ways to manage neck pain because of sleep
Despite all the precautions, if you do develop neck pain because of sleeping, try applying a cold pack to the painful areas of neck and shoulder.
If the pain persists, for a day or two, use hot fomentation on the painful areas.
Use of over the counter pain relievers for a couple of days can bring relief.
If the neck pain is due to some underlying medical conditions, please consult a doctor and undergo the prescribed treatment.
Neck pain due to wrong sleeping postures or allied reasons is common. Slight changes in sleeping habits and selection of appropriate pillows can bring in immense relief. A little more attention will better the quality of sleep, which in turn will relax your body and relieve the pain.