Many of us suffer from neck pain in our everyday lives, and an achy, sore neck can make life pretty miserable. Often, we try all sorts of different therapies and remedies to try and ease our symptoms, which can be costly and time-consuming. Importantly, severe neck pain should always be assessed by a medical professional to ensure there is no serious root cause.
However, the good news is that there is something you can do to help ease some of the pain in your neck. Believe it or not, that sore neck that’s been bothering you could be caused by the way that you sleep! It may sound incredible, but the position you sleep in, and even the type of pillow can make a huge difference. After all, you spend a large portion of your life asleep, so it stands to reason that your bedtime choices have an impact on your physical health.
So before you reach for the painkillers or spend a fortune on physical therapy, why not consider making some quick and simple changes to your sleeping routine? You may be concerned that you don’t know where to start but never fear. We’ve been busy compiling some great tips that will help you get a more comfortable night’s sleep. We know your neck will thank you for it!
Could My Sleeping Position Be Causing My Neck Pain?
So, you’re thinking about how to improve your aching neck. The best place to start is by assessing your individual sleeping style to see if any improvements can be made there. Of course, we all sleep differently, and everyone has their favourite position that they find comfortable. So check out our handy list below to find out what kind of sleeper you are.
The great news is, this isn’t the worst position for your neck health. If you sleep on your back, chances are your neck is resting in a reasonably supportive position while you slumber. However, there are things you can do to make this position even better for your neck.
If you’re a side sleeper, congratulations! This position is the best for keeping your spine in alignment and supporting your neck. The majority of people sleep on their sides, and you are probably already reaping the benefits. But, if you are still suffering from neck pain, check out our chapter below on how to improve this position even further.
We hate to break it to you, but this is the worst position to sleep in when it comes to supporting your neck. Although it may feel comfy as you drift off, this position offers your head and neck very little support and forces your neck into an awkward position. Furthermore, it puts pressure on your internal organs and reduces airflow while you slumber. In order to improve your symptoms, we really suggest that you try to kick the habit of sleeping on your front. However, if you really can’t, there are things you can do to make this position less harmful.
How Can I Improve My Sleeping Position?
Now you’ve worked out your own personal sleeping style, you’ll be wanting to know how you can improve it to ease the pressure on your neck and spine. It can be really hard to change the position we sleep in because it is often a deep-rooted habit developed in childhood. Don’t worry though, because we have some excellent advice to help you improve your neck pain, whatever position you ten to adopt at night.
Back sleepers are already in a reasonably good position, but did you know that the position and size of your pillow can really make a difference? We recommend using one big pillow, and positioning it directly underneath your head to give your neck adequate support. A flat pillow won’t be supportive enough. Also, a big pile of fluffy pillows, while cosy, will force your neck into an awkward position and may cause aches.
Side sleepers should be feeling really pleased, as they are already in an excellent position for neck health. If you’re still suffering from discomfort, it’s time to think about the alignment of your whole spine, as this can have a major impact on your neck. Our solution is this: try placing an extra pillow between your knees while you snooze. This will get your spine into an even better position.
Front sleepers beware: we really recommend that you try to find another position to sleep in to ease your neck pain. However, if you really can’t fall asleep any other way, you should take action to prevent any soreness in your neck. Instead of positioning the pillow underneath your head, pop it under your hips instead. This will help move your spine into a better alignment, which may ease some of your aches and pains.
Does The Type Of Pillow I Use Affect My Neck?
You may be wondering if there are other factors affecting your neck, and the good news is that you may be able to improve your neck pain by doing something as simple as switching your pillow. Have you been sleeping on the same old lumpy pillow for year after year? Ditch it! This could be a major cause of neck pain, as an unsupportive pillow can leave your neck in a less than ideal position.
So, now you’re looking to replace your pillow, here’s a step-by-step guide to choosing one that will support your neck properly.
- 1. Think about the size of your pillow. Everybody has slightly different needs, but a pillow that is too thick or thin may not support your neck very well. An exception to this can be made if you sleep on your back, in which case it’s a good idea to use a bigger pillow to keep your neck in the best possible position.
- 2. How firm should your pillow be? Those super-soft pillows may feel lovely and cosy, but they could be wreaking havoc on your poor spine. Try choosing a firmer pillow for superior support.
- 3. Consider memory foam. Whilst often slightly more expensive, it may be a worthwhile investment if you are serious about improving the quality of your sleep. We highly recommend memory foam pillows if you suffer from neck pain, because they adjust to your individual body shape to provide the ideal support.
What About The Number Of Pillows?
Now you’ve got your perfect pillow, you may be wondering whether the number of pillows you use might be causing those niggling aches. Everybody has different preferences when it comes to the number of pillows. Some of use just love to snuggle into a great big pile of fluffy pillows, but is that really the nest thing for our necks? We’ve been doing our research, and the answer may surprise you! It turns out, the best number of pillows to sleep with is ONE!
Why may you ask? When we sleep with multiple pillows, it can prop our necks up into a position that it really isn’t designed for. Over time, that lovely fluffy pile can actually cause strain on our necks, leading to all sorts of aches and strains. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you try to break the habit, and transition into just one, high-quality pillow.
I’ve Heard That No Pillows At All Can Help Neck Pain. Is That True?
Some people believe that sleeping with no pillows is actually the best answer when it comes to solving sleep-related neck pain. In addition, it has even been claimed that no pillows can lead to better breathing and even fewer wrinkles! While experts haven’t come to a definite conclusion on this, sleeping without any pillows may be worth a try.
The reason for this is that sleeping without pillows can put your neck in a more natural position, thus reducing strain. However, consider carefully whether you think you will feel comfortable ditching your fluffy companions. When it comes to getting a decent night of shut-eye, feeling cosy and comfortable is also very important. Otherwise, you may not be able to fully relax in order to wake up feeling refreshed. If, like most of us, you have spent your whole life snuggling up with a lovely, cosy pillow at night, getting used to sleeping without them can be very difficult.
As we have explained above, it is completely possible to ease your neck pain caused by sleeping. There are lots of things you can try, such as changing the type and number of your pillows and even giving them up altogether. It’s really important, though, to have your neck pain assessed by a doctor if it is severe or persists for a long time.
We hope that we have given you lots of practical ideas to improve your neck pain that are quick and easy to implement. After all, a good night’s sleep is absolutely vital to our overall physical and mental health. If you develop good habits now, you can potentially save yourself lots of discomfort in the future. Happy slumbering, and pleasant dreams!