Most likely, you’ve woken up in the morning with a stiff neck at least once. A painful neck is no joke. The decreased mobility causes stress and is enough to ruin your whole day. Why do we get neck pain in the first place? Your cervical spine, located at the top of your spine, has a big job. It’s twisting and turning and bearing the weight of your head all day long. After a while those neck muscles get tired. And if your neck is misaligned at all, then it’s only adding to the issue.
Other factors such as stress, sleeping in the wrong position, and on the wrong type of pillow, all contribute to a sore neck. We’ve put together some tips for getting a great night’s sleep and waking up refreshed and pain-free.
Stretches for Decreasing Neck Pain
By gently stretching your neck, you can help lengthen cramped muscles and aid in your spine’s alignment. Do these neck stretches before bed to help ease neck pain. Always maintain good posture when stretching.
- Sit on the edge of your bed or in a comfortable chair. Look straight ahead and imagine there is a string pulling the top of your head toward the ceiling. This will help elongate your spine.
- Place your left hand over your head so that your fingertips are touching your right ear. It’s ok if you can’t get all the way to your ear.
- Being very gentle, guide your left ear down toward your left shoulder by pulling slightly with the left hand that is on your head.
- Hold your head in this position for about five deep breaths. Adjust according to how you feel. Don’t overexert yourself, but make sure you’re feeling a slight stretch in the side of your neck.
- Slowly bring your head back to an upright position.
- Readjust to make sure you are still sitting up straight and looking ahead.
- Repeat on the other side.
- Now, let your head fall forward with your chin close to your chest. Again, don’t force it. Feel the stretch in the back of your neck.
- Raise your head and then repeat as many times as feels good.
Avoid Disruptions to Your Sleep Cycle
Fitful sleep contributes to neck pain at night. Try not to look at your phone right before you shut your eyes. Studies have shown that the blue light it emits “restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm.” Not only that, but it’s not uncommon to have your head propped up while you are using your phone or tablet, putting strain on your neck right before falling asleep.
Stress is also a contributing factor to fitful sleep and increased neck pain. Look for ways to de-stress throughout the week and perhaps try a 10-minute meditation before bed to relax your body and calm your mind.
Match Your Pillow With Your Sleep Position
Your sleep position matters. Think of your spine and cervical spine, and picture them being in a straight line. The wrong pillow may cause your head to be raised up too high while you sleep, contributing to neck pain. It is not recommended to sleep on your back if you are suffering from a painful neck. However, if it’s the only way you can get to sleep, use a very thin pillow, or no pillow at all.
One great way to check your body alignment when lying down is to have someone take a picture of your back and neck while you’re in your normal sleeping position. Check to see if your neck is out of alignment with the rest of your spine. If it is, side and stomach sleepers should consider a new pillow that will allow the spine to lie straight.
For the best results, sleep on your side or back. Invest in a pillow that allows your head to be in alignment with the middle of your back and shoulders. The size of your pillow will be determined by the broadness of your shoulders. Petite individuals should opt for a skinnier pillow, while those with more broad shoulders will benefit from a more lofty pillow.
And even better, look for a pillow made especially for side and back sleepers. The unique curve should support your neck and shoulders whether you are on your side or back. Also look for a pillow that is adjustable, utilizing a built-in customizable loft that can be raised or lowered so sleepers can easily find their perfect head position and spine alignment, no matter what size they are.
By using a combination of stretches, the right pillow, and a bedtime routine that reduces stress, your neck pain should decrease significantly, if not go away completely! When you find the right pillow, you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes. All of our latex side sleeper pillows allow for maximum breathability and are built to last. The natural latex is hypoallergenic and won’t collect dust, dirt, or mites. Ready to sleep without neck pain?