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Sleeping Positions & Neck Pain: Tips for a Pain-Free Night’s Sleep

By March 18, 2024June 14th, 2024Neck Pain

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for a healthy lifestyle. However, neck pain can make it difficult to sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed. Sleeping positions play a crucial role in preventing or exacerbating neck pain. 

We discuss the best sleeping positions for neck pain and provide some tips for a pain-free night’s sleep.


The Importance of Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain

The position in which you sleep can significantly impact your neck pain. Choosing a sleeping position that supports your neck’s natural curvature and keeps your spine aligned is essential. Sleeping on your stomach can cause strain on your neck muscles and spine, leading to neck pain. Sleeping on your back or side is generally better for your neck because it keeps your spine in a neutral position. However, the best position for you may depend on your personal preferences, body type and other factors.

What are the Best Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain?

Back sleeping is undoubtedly the best sleeping position for neck pain. After all, it helps keep your spine in a neutral position, which minimises strain on your neck muscles. However, some people find it uncomfortable to sleep on their backs. In that case, side sleeping is a good alternative. If you are a side sleeper, use a pillow that is thick enough to keep your neck in line with your spine. Avoid using a pillow that is too high or too low, as it can cause strain on your neck muscles. If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, try to use a thin pillow, or no pillow at all, to minimise strain on your neck muscles.

Further Tips for a Pain-Free Night’s Sleep

Apart from sleeping positions, you can do a few other things to prevent neck pain while sleeping. First, use a supportive pillow that keeps your neck and spine aligned. Look for a pillow that conforms to the natural curvature of your neck and keeps your head level with your spine. Second, avoid using an old or lumpy pillow, which can cause discomfort and pain. Third, try to sleep on a firm mattress that supports your spine. A soft mattress may feel comfortable initially, but it can cause your spine to sink and create pressure points. Finally, avoid sleeping on your stomach, as this can cause strain on your neck muscles and spine. If you are a stomach sleeper, gradually transition to a different position.

Additional Strategies for Neck Pain Relief

In addition to choosing the proper sleeping position and using supportive pillows and mattresses, there are other strategies you can try to alleviate neck pain after sleeping. One option is to use a heating pad or cold pack on your neck before going to bed. Heat can help relax tight muscles, while coolness can help reduce inflammation and numb pain.

Another option is to practise gentle neck stretches and exercises like Pilates daily to improve flexibility and relieve tension. However, we advise you to consult a healthcare professional before starting any exercise program, especially if you have underlying health conditions.

Lifestyle Changes for Better Sleep and Neck Health

In addition to sleeping positions and neck pain relief strategies, certain lifestyle changes can improve your overall sleep quality and neck health. For example, maintaining good posture throughout the day can reduce strain on your neck muscles and spine. Regular exercise can also help improve sleep quality and reduce stress, which can contribute to neck pain. 

Additionally, avoiding caffeine, alcohol and nicotine shortly before bedtime can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Try these changes out and you might see a significant improvement in your neck pain after sleeping.

When to Seek Medical Help for Neck Pain After Sleeping

While most cases of neck pain can be managed with simple lifestyle changes and home remedies, there are times when you should seek medical help. You should consult a healthcare professional if your neck pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness, tingling or weakness. They can help determine the underlying cause of your neck pain and recommend appropriate treatment, including physio rehabilitation, pain relief therapy or surgery.

Neck pain can make it difficult to sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed. You can prevent or alleviate neck pain by choosing the proper sleeping position and using a supportive pillow and mattress. The tips and information in this article will help you get a pain-free night’s sleep. After all, a good night’s sleep is crucial for a healthy and happy lifestyle.

If you are experiencing persistent neck pain, get in touch with MGS Physiotherapy today.