Get Your ZzZ's: 7 Tips on How to Sleep with Neck Pain
Getting proper rest when your neck is constantly in pain isn't easy - but it isn't impossible. Check our seven tips on how to sleep with neck pain!
At any given time, 10-20% of American adults are experiencing neck pain.
Have you ever gone to bed with neck pain and woken up in the morning only to find the pain is worse?
There are few things more discouraging than that. What can you do to make sure that your body is able to heal during the sleep process, rather than experiencing additional stress?
If you're experiencing neck pain and want to ensure that you get a good night's sleep, come with me and we'll take a look at how to sleep with neck pain.
7 Tips on How to Sleep With Neck Pain
If you have neck pain, it's important that you get quality sleep. Sleep is a crucial part of the body's healing process. If your neck hurts after sleep, there are several different things you change about your routine before bed and your sleeping posture so you can work towards being pain-free.
1. Make Sure You Have the Right Pillow
It's important that when you sleep your neck is parallel to the mattress and your spine is in alignment. A lot of people have success with cervical contour pillows that have supports for your neck whether you're lying on your back or on your side.
Everyone's different, and you might need to experiment to find the best pillow for neck pain that works for you.
2. Make Sure You Have the Right Mattress
A mattress, of course, is no small investment, but it's possible that a poor mattress is a contributing factor if your neck hurts after sleep.
Just like with finding the proper pillow, the right type of mattress will be different for different people. That being said, the most important thing is that the combination of your mattress and your pillow are keeping your spine in proper alignment while your sleeping.
3. Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach
If you're a lifelong stomach-sleeper, this probably isn't what you want to hear. If you're suffering from neck pain, however, you might want to consider transitioning to either sleeping on your back or on your side. This is because sleeping on your stomach doesn't keep your spine in alignment and places a strain on it.
4. Don't Use Devices Right Before Bed
There are two good reasons to avoid using any electronic devices while you're lying in bed.
One is that using smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs, or any other devices can delay your body's circadian rhythm. This means that melatonin, the hormone that helps induce sleep, is suppressed and can make it a lot harder to fall asleep.
It's hard enough to fall asleep when you're plagued by neck pain. Don't make it any more difficult on yourself by altering your body's internal clock.
The second reason to not use devices right before bed is that the position we use our phones and laptops in bed can be very stressful on the spine and neck.
Give your neck, your brain, and your body a break from electronics for an hour or two before bed. It will make sleeping much easier and won't add to your neck pain.
5. Apply Heat Before Bed
Applying heat to your neck for 10-15 minutes before bed can help relax your neck muscles.
You can do this by using an electric heating pad or hot compress, or by taking a hot shower or bath before trying to fall asleep. Taking a hot bath is also known to help you fall asleep more quickly because it lowers your core body temperature, which signals to your body that it's time for bed.
Although it's good to use heat to relax your neck muscles, it's important to note that it's generally agreed upon that being too hot can negatively affect your ability to get quality sleep.
6. Stretching and Relaxation Techniques
By stretching and using relaxation techniques before bed, you can not only help relax your neck tension but also improve your sleep quality and help you fall asleep faster.
You might try doing some of these neck exercises before you turn in for the night.
While neck pain can be caused by a number of different factors, some neck pain stems from stress. Even if this wasn't the cause of neck pain, experiencing chronic pain can be incredibly stressful and anxiety-inducing. Studies have shown that practicing yoga or mindfulness meditation both can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, and help relieve chronic pain.
7. Stay Hydrated
This is such a simple one that it's easy to overlook.
Being dehydrated can cause a lot of problems, one of which is that it can aggravate chronic pain. Not only that, but there is also evidence that dehydration can lead to poor sleep quality and not getting enough sleep.
If you have neck pain from sleeping, have a hard time falling asleep, or feel like your sleep quality is poor, make sure you're drinking an adequate amount of water the day before.
Don't Let Neck Pain Rob You of Quality Sleep
Waking up with a stiff neck from sleep or just trying to sleep with existing neck pain can be uncomfortable, stressful, and distressing. Checking to make sure you are sleeping with a posture that supports your spine and doesn't strain it as well as improving your before-bed routine can help make sure you get a good night's sleep.
Did you find this article on how to sleep with neck pain helpful? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles on all things spinal health.
Are you thinking about visiting a chiropractor for your neck pain? Contact us today with questions or to schedule an appointment!