When it comes to neck pain while sleeping, it seems like a logical conclusion to assume it’s as a result of something you’re doing while you’re asleep. And while that is true, being in control of your posture while you’re asleep can be easier said than done. In most cases, it’s hard enough to do the right thing while you’re awake let alone when you’re sleeping. So for that reason, although it may seem counter intuitive, it’s best to focus on your posture and correcting that while you’re awake in order to see the benefits while you’re asleep. We’ll go through some tips on what you can do while you’re sleeping later in the article, but we’ll also be focusing on what you can do during the day.
So when you’re going through your usual day, how good is your posture? Are there things on a daily basis you could be doing that are causing more harm than good? From bending forward to put your socks or shoes on first thing in the morning, gazing down at your phone while you’re eating your breakfast, doing the same on the tube or on your daily commute, slouching at the office or at home etc. All of these things done regularly can really affect your neck health during the day, let alone at night if you’re not aware of your posture. Making a conscious effort to identify what exactly you’re doing on a daily basis, and to check in with your posture throughout the day. It can be as simple as setting a reminder on your phone to just make sure that you’re regularly spending just a couple of seconds to identify if your posture is correct, and if it’s not to correct it.
Correct Sleeping Posture
The number one piece of advice we’d give to people looking to correct the way they’re sleeping is to avoid using multiple pillows. You want to make sure that you’re using just one pillow that fits correctly above your shoulder to keep your head level and square to your shoulders. Some people can be tempted to use 3 or more pillows but this props the head up too much, puts a flexion in your neck and essentially squashes the discs in your neck. If you find it difficult to get comfortable with just one pillow, or you haven’t found the right pillow to support your neck, it might be worth trying a Tempur pillow with the swoop that fits right in the nape of the neck. This allows you if you sleep on your back to be in a more natural position – and will go a long way to help your disc spaces to rehydrate during the day which is helpful. However, a lot of people don’t sleep on their back, it would be helpful to at least lie in bed in that position to start with.
If you’re sleeping on your side, again make sure that you’ve got a pillow that supports your neck up enough that you’re not tilting it to one side or the other. This is quite an important step, as if you’re sleeping with your neck crooked it may be no wonder that you wake up with neck pain or stiffness. Sleep square, and get a pillow to fill this shoulder gap. The next important step is to look straight, rather than looking down with your neck almost in a ball. This would do exactly the same thing as sleeping on your back with too many pillows, it pushes the neck forward. Making these changes will have a big impact on the degree of discomfort you get in the night, but chances are if you’re sleeping badly you’re probably also doing things in the day that are not beneficial for your spine.