Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain Relief | Flo Mattress
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Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain

Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain

 

Having neck pain can really mess with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. Studies show that about 10% of people deal with neck pain, and a whopping 70% of those with chronic neck pain struggle to get good sleep.

Getting quality sleep is super important for your overall health. It affects both your body and mind, your immune system, and even your ability to think clearly. To really get the most out of your sleep, experts say you should aim for at least seven hours every night.

Finding a comfortable sleeping position can help ease neck pain and improve sleep quality. In this article, we'll explore some helpful sleeping positions for those dealing with neck discomfort, along with the factors that might be making your nights uncomfortable and some tips for getting better sleep.

 

Causes of Neck Pain During Sleep

1. Insufficient Support

neck support

Not having enough support during sleep might cause discomfort in the neck and other areas of the spine. This is where a quality mattress like Flo comes in. Unlike ordinary mattresses that can leave you sinking in, the Flo mattresses are designed with targeted support. The Flo Responsive™ foam, a high-density core layer in all our mattresses prevents sagging, while the contouring top layer cradles your body's curves. This unique combination ensures proper spinal alignment, promoting better posture and a more comfortable night's sleep.

2. Sleeping Position

Sleeping Position 
Sleep position can significantly impact neck pain, and certain positions are more beneficial than others for maintaining a pain-free neck. While sleep preferences are highly individual, it's essential to recognize that some positions may contribute to neck discomfort. For instance, sleeping on your stomach often leads to a stiff neck, as it requires your neck to be twisted to one side for extended periods, straining the muscles and ligaments.

3. Poor Posture

Poor sitting position

Sitting with improper posture, such as tilting your head up or down while using a computer, sitting for extended periods in one position, and carrying heavy bags or purses, can affect the muscles in your neck and upper back.

4. Stress

Stress

Feeling stressed or anxious can cause muscle tension, both during sleep and throughout the day. This tension might result in painful muscle knots and spasms in the neck and shoulders, as well as lead to neck pain and stiffness while sleeping.

5. Muscle Strain

Neck muscle strain

Sleeping in an awkward position can strain the muscles in your neck. For instance, if you sleep on your stomach, your head may stay turned to one side for a long time, leading to stiffness and difficulty moving your head when you wake up.

Using the wrong pillow can also cause neck strain. Whether it's a memory foam or feather pillow, make sure it's not too high or too low. Your pillow should keep your head in a natural position and support the curves of your neck.

6. Past Injuries

If you've had neck injuries before, sleeping in the wrong position or using the wrong pillow can make your neck pain worse. Common neck injuries like whiplash(injury to the neck due to impactful back and forth movement), often from car accidents or sports, can damage muscles, connective tissues, and spinal discs, leading to discomfort during sleep.

7. Age-Related Factors

Old age neck problem

As you get older, wear and tear on your spine can cause problems that affect your neck. Conditions like osteoarthritis, herniated discs, and pinched nerves can make sleeping uncomfortable. Additionally, degenerative changes can lead to spinal stenosis, where the spaces in your spine narrow, putting pressure on nearby nerves and causing neck pain.

8. TMJ Disorders

TMJ Pain

People dealing with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders frequently experience teeth clenching and grinding during sleep, accompanied by jaw discomfort and clicking sounds. However, the effects of TMJ extend beyond just jaw issues. Research indicates that 70% of individuals with TMJ also report neck pain. If you find yourself waking up with jaw and neck discomfort, seeking treatment for TMJ may offer relief for both symptoms.

 

Sleeping Positions to Help With Neck Pain

1. Side Sleeping

A 2019 review discovered that individuals who slept on their sides reported less neck and back discomfort. Side sleeping is particularly beneficial for those who snore, are pregnant, or experience digestive issues like acid reflux. For these individuals, favouring the left side may be helpful.

Side sleeping helps align the head and neck with the body. To maintain this neutral position, it's important to choose a pillow with medium firmness—not too soft or too firm. Placing a pillow between your knees can also aid in supporting sleep posture.

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In a 2021 study comparing feather and rubber pillows, including those filled with memory or latex foam, it was found that spring and rubber pillows may alleviate neck pain. Regardless of the material, the height and shape of the pillow play a crucial role in cervical spine alignment.

Additionally, you can enhance support by rolling up a small towel and placing it inside your pillowcase, beneath your neck. This adjustment helps fill any gaps and ensures proper alignment of the neck.

If neck pain leads to discomfort or numbness in the arm and shoulder, switching to the opposite side may provide relief.

 2. Back Sleeping

The same research from 2019 suggests that sleeping on your back (spine) could be helpful for easing neck discomfort. This position might be especially beneficial if sleeping on your side is uncomfortable due to shoulder issues. Additionally, for individuals experiencing low back pain, sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees is recommended.

To ensure proper alignment while sleeping on your back, it's important to keep your neck straight. Similar to the side-lying position, you can improve neck support by placing a rolled-up towel in your pillowcase. Alternatively, using memory foam, latex, or spring pillows can also help. Additionally, placing a pillow or two under your knees can maintain the natural curve of your spine.

For a deeper dive into the best sleeping positions for various health concerns, explore our article on Best Sleeping positions for your health.

 

Sleeping Position to Avoid for Neck Pain

Individuals experiencing neck discomfort are advised to refrain from sleeping on their stomach. This sleeping position can result in prolonged tilting of the head to one side, leading to misalignment and increased strain on the neck muscles.

General Tips for Sleeping with Neck Pain

1. Upgrade Bedding

Upgrade bedding 

If you're experiencing neck pain, a new mattress with proper support might be helpful. Flo Mattress offers a variety of options designed to promote spinal alignment, like our Ortho™  and Ergo™ lines. These mattresses use high-quality foams that provide support and minimize pressure points, potentially helping to improve neck posture during sleep. Flo also offers a 100-night trial, so you can try out our mattresses and see if they make a difference in your neck comfort.

2. Thermal Therapy

Thermal Therapy

Applying heat or cold therapy to the affected area before bedtime can provide relief. It's advisable to limit each session to 15 minutes and use a low setting on heating pads or wrap ice packs in a towel to prevent skin damage. It's important to stay awake during therapy to avoid potential injury.

3. Physical Activity and Flexibility

Incorporating gentle neck stretches, rotations, and shoulder exercises into daily routines can help alleviate neck pain and reduce its recurrence. Consulting with a physical therapist or healthcare professional can provide personalised exercise recommendations to address individual needs effectively.

4. Stress Reduction

Stress Reduction

Practicing meditation and mindful breathing techniques can help reduce stress and alleviate neck tension. Engaging in gentle exercises like yoga or tai chi can also promote relaxation. Consulting a psychologist or mental health professional for stress and pain management strategies can provide additional support.

5. Pain Management

Pain relief

Healthcare professionals often suggest over-the-counter pain relievers like NSAIDs or acetaminophen for managing neck pain. However, it's wise to discuss potential risks with your doctor before starting any medication regimen. If standard options don't suffice, seeking guidance on prescription medications is recommended.

6. Neck Support Options

Neck Brace

Wearing a soft neck brace can offer relief and stabilise the neck's movement. For those experiencing discomfort during sleep, wearing the brace at night may help. However, it's essential to use neck braces during the day cautiously, limiting wear to three hours at a time for a maximum of two weeks to avoid hindering recovery.

 

Closing Thoughts

Consistent sleep habits are key to maximizing the benefits of a neck-pain-friendly sleep position. Aim for a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at similar times each day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body's natural sleep-wake cycle, promoting deeper, more restorative sleep. Additionally, create a relaxing bedtime routine to wind down before sleep. Take a warm bath, read a book, or practice calming stretches.

Remember to prioritise proper spinal alignment by using supportive pillows and consider incorporating additional strategies like heat therapy, gentle stretches, and stress management techniques into your routine. Consulting a healthcare professional for personalised guidance can further enhance your efforts in achieving a pain-free night's sleep.

A comfortable night's sleep is crucial for your physical and mental health. By implementing the tips and information provided in this article, you can take charge of your neck pain and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.

 

The key to a good night's sleep is the right mattress. Flo Mattress offers top-notch quality and comfort for your sleep sanctuary.

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