The Best Sleep Position for Neck Pain

best sleep position for neck pain

Are you waking up with debilitating neck pain? Count yourself among the 80% of Americans who struggle with this same problem. You’re not alone in your suffering, but living with untreated neck pain increases the risk of additional health issues down the road. To get rid of the problem for good, you need to understand the cause. In the case of neck pain, there are often several causes. Common causes include stress, poor posture, arthritis, whiplash, colds, and spinal stenosis.

However, one of the most overlooked causes of neck pain is your sleeping position.

The wrong sleeping position can inflame neck pain just like poor posture at work, but that’s about to change.

Read on to discover the best sleep position for neck pain.

The Science Behind Sleeping Positions

Are you finding it hard to believe that sleeping can cause pain? Sleeping is supposed to be a happy place.

Injuries aren’t limited to spills, falls, accidents, and sports. Neck injuries can occur just as quickly in your sleep. Worse yet, sleep injuries often go untreated.

Poor sleeping positions cause neck muscles to inflame. Inflammation is your body’s natural response to stressors and injuries. The real problem occurs when that inflammation is not adequately relieved.

Untreated inflam`mation can manifest into more severe, long-lasting health issues like arthritis, migraines, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease.

So what are poor sleeping positions doing to your body while you sleep? A lot more damage than you think.

The wrong sleeping position throws your body completely out of alignment. The longer you stay in that position, the more pressure you put on your discs, muscles, and nerves, which is a recipe for chronic neck inflammation.

Neck pain from sleeping is a real injury that needs treatment. Fortunately, it can be reversed by adopting the right sleeping positions and habits.

However, if your neck pain is causing chronic pain and migraines, you may require medical intervention if it’s affecting your ability to function normally.

Stop Sleeping on Your Stomach

Your next step is to identify which sleeping positions are giving you trouble.

The first rule of thumb is to never sleep on your stomach. Stomach sleeping may be the worse sleeping position for neck pain.

When you sleep on your stomach, you increase the likelihood of neck pain when you twist your neck from side to side. This motion throws your spinal out of alignment. It puts severe pressure on your nerves, which leads to excruciating pain in the morning.

Stomach sleeping also puts an extraordinary amount of pressure on your back over time, which increases neck pain.

Imagine all this pressure on your neck, back, joints, and nerves for 8 hours straight every night!

Stomach sleeping also prevents you from getting that full 8 hours of deep sleep.

The combination of pain and overheating from sleeping face down causes the body to wake up throughout the night. Frequently interrupted sleep only inflames your neck pain more.

How to Stop Sleeping on Your Tummy

Your next challenge is to stop sleeping on your stomach altogether. This change is essential if you’re struggling with severe, debilitating pain.

You have to find the will to avoid this sleeping position like you would with any other bad habit.

One way is to break this habit is to stay conscious of it before you sleep. Remember to switch to your back or side if you wake up in a stomach sleeping position.

Another option is to switch your pillow. A new pillow is essential for adapting to a new sleeping position. As a stomach sleeper, you’ll need a special cervical pillow to encourage you to sleep on your side.

Old habits die hard. If you’re struggling to break the habit or prefer sleeping on your stomach, there are things you can do to make this position less damaging on your body.

The key is to keep your head, neck, and spine aligned while sleeping face down.

You’ll need a high-quality mattress that cushions all your pressure points. You also need a breathable mattress since you generate more heat face down on the bed. Place a flat cushion under your pelvis at night to decrease spinal pain.

More Bad Sleep Positions to Avoid

Stomach sleeping isn’t the only culprit behind neck pain.

Avoid falling asleep upright at all costs. This position occurs when you fall asleep watching TV on the couch.

Unfortunately, your neck and back are not aligned properly in this position, which puts unwanted pressure on your nerves. Your neck can also tip downward, which inflames neck muscles and nerves.

You should also avoid falling asleep in a chair and letting your neck fall backward.

If you’re going to continue to sleep in these positions, you’ll need additional cushions to keep your back as aligned as possible.

Is Your Back the Best Sleep Position For Neck Pain?

Now that you understand what not to do. Your next step is to find the best sleep position for your needs.

Experts agree that sleeping on your back or side is the best sleep position for neck pain relief.

Sleeping on your back is also called supine sleeping. This position keeps your back and neck aligned while providing support to your joints and pressure points. This position works best with a supportive mattress and pillow.

While sleeping on your back reduces the risk of neck pain, it may not be the right fit if you have respiratory issues.

If you already have breathing issues, sleeping on your back can cause a nasal obstruction if you don’t have a supportive mattress.

Sleep apnea can also be a problem when sleeping on your back. To decrease your snoring, talk to your doctor or dentist about preventative night guards.

Sleeping On Your Side to Prevent Neck Pain

Side sleeping is recommended for those who struggle with breathing and sleep apnea. It’s also one of the best sleeping positions to prevent morning neck pain.

However, sleeping on your left side vs. your right side isn’t the same thing.

Sleeping on your right side keeps your head, torso, and lower back aligned, which is what you want.

However, sleeping on your right side can put more pressure on your stomach, which can make stomach problems feel worse. Plus, if you sleep in the same position, you may cause unwanted compression injuries to your right arm.

Sleeping on your left side puts less pressure on your stomach organ, which can relieve your upset stomach before bed. However, like right-side sleeping, you can trigger compression injuries if you put too much pressure on the joints.

Best Mattress Types to Prevent Neck Pain

Sleeping on your left or right side is preferable for neck pain prevention and relief. Compression injuries occur when your joints aren’t supported. That’s why the right mattress is essential for getting rid of neck pain for good.

The right sleeping position can only go so far. Your body can quickly fall out of alignment if you sink too far into your mattress or toss and turn in your sleep. You need a bed that keeps you in your preferred position, 8-hours straight.

Take note of the following mattresses for neck pain:

For best results, pair your supportive mattress with a mattress topper. This idea is an excellent solution if you want the best of both worlds. You may prefer a hybrid mattress with a memory foam topper, for example.

Take your time to find the right mattress for your needs. Visit a showroom and test them out for yourself. You should also read any reviews you can get your hands on.

Look for reviews from customers who also struggle with neck pain. When people finally get the relief they need, they’ll let you know. You may even find detailed video reviews that show the mattress in action.

Another tip is to call a mattress retailer directly. They’re the experts, after all! Don’t hesitate to pick their brains to find the best mattress for neck pain relief.

How to Relieve Neck Pain Before Bedtime

With the right sleeping position and mattress, you’re well on your way toward neck pain relief.

There are several things you can do to ensure a good night’s sleep.

  • Brew a cup of chamomile or lavender tea
  • Take natural melatonin supplements
  • Make valerian root tea
  • Enjoy lavender aromatherapy before bed
  • Decrease stress with Ginkgo biloba
  • Calm your nerves with a Tryptophan-rich night snack

If you’re still experiencing chronic neck pain and sleeping problems, consult with your doctor about additional solutions.

Say Goodnight to Neck Pain for Good

Don’t lose another hour of sleep to excruciating neck pain. Wake up refreshed and pain-free, so that you can make the most of your day again.

Follow this guide to discover the best sleep position for neck pain and the right mattress for your needs.

Changing your sleep position is your first step toward a good night’s sleep. 

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