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Finding the best sleep position when you suffer from chronic neck pain is a real challenge. Even healthy individuals can wake up with a terrible neck pain if they sleep in a bad position. As we spend about one third of our life sleeping, it comes without saying that maintaining a proper sleep position is mandatory for maintaining our health and well-being.
But, leading a healthy posture while you sleep is not always as black and white as you may think. Why do you think you sleep in the positions that you currently do now?. Because you find them comfortable right?. This may feel good and you may get a solid 8 hours sleep every night. But this certainly does not mean you are doing the right thing by your neck, shoulders and spine.
In reality, it’s your bad sleep posture that may be causing the neck pain in the first place. So by fixing the way you sleep, you could drastically reduce the amount of neck problems suffered. While we are asleep, our body doesn’t react to such incidents which cause cause a sore neck. It’s only when we wake up the brain can send the signals of pain and then we realize what we have done to our necks during the night. Once this has occurred, it’s important to act immediately and treat the neck pain.
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Best Posture While Sleeping To Prevent Neck Pain
#1. Back Sleepers
Despite what some doctors may believe, I believe the healthiest sleeping position is on our back, without a pillow or at the most an orthopedic pillow designed for the back. The mattress should be hard, in order to support the weight of our body without allowing the bones to lose their natural alignment.
Sleeping on your back allows your spine to rest properly, therefore preventing various problems such as morning stiffness and pain. Besides, this position allows your tendons, muscles and ligaments to relax. As these soft tissues are more often than not the culprit for neck pain, you should avoid positions that prevent them from relaxing.
Is Sleeping On Your Stomach Bad For The Neck?
Some people swear by sleeping on their stomach. However, sleep specialists don’t recommend this position, because it can put a lot of strain on the neck. Twisting your head to the side can have a negative impact on your nerves, so it’s not the best position you should adopt for getting a good night rest without affecting your health.
If this is your favorite sleep position, you should change it before starting to develop neck pain and other health issues. I have recently started waking up on my stomach during the night. I have found this to be extremely uncomfortable on my body and my neck cramps up. So I am in the process of fine tuning my sleep posture to best prevent me from rolling onto my stomach at night.
What About Sleeping On Your Side? Good Or Bad Idea?
Sleeping on your side isn’t the best idea, either. However, not as bad as sleeping on your stomach. With the correct side sleeping pillows, correct body posture can be formed. With a pillow designed for side sleepers, your spin should be perfectly aligned with your neck. This can help to reduce the severity of neck pain.
Your pillow will force your head to lean towards one of your shoulders, putting a lot of strain on your ligaments and tendons. By maintaining this unnatural position for a long time, your ligaments are going to become painful, and you’ll wake up to morning stiffness.I have found that being a side sleeper myself, I bend my wrists into awkward positions. During the night I wake up with ‘numb’ hands and occasionally painful wrists. This is down to me being a side sleeper and how I position my arms.
Even when you use a proper pillow, designed for sleeping on a side, you may still develop neck pain, as it is virtually impossible to maintain a proper head position throughout the whole night if you roll around a lot. In addition, if you sleep one the same side for many years, you may develop a lot of wrinkles on the cheek that gets in contact with the pillow.
How To Sleep With A Sore Neck Answered
As you can see, everything boils down to getting use to sleeping on your back, without a pillow. This is the healthiest position, recommended and endorsed by Bio-mechanics specialists. The only problem is that changing your sleeping habits may prove to be extremely difficult, resulting in sleepless nights, tiredness and chronic fatigue. This is why you should tackle such changes with great care, as you should find a way to embrace them without depriving yourself from the proper night rest your body needs for maintaining its good functioning.
If you are already used to sleep on your back, but you can’t give up your pillow, you should be aware that sleeping on your back on a too high pillow isn’t a solution. This position puts a lot of strain on the cervical area of your spine, so it may lead to discomfort, pain and stiffness. Nonetheless, getting rid of your pillow isn’t that easy either.
You should start by using a lower one, and gradually make the transition to a folded towel, and eventually to no head support at all. In some situations, you may have to roll a towel or a small blanket and place it under your neck to offer good support throughout the night.But essentially, what we are after is a completely aligned spine which can be achieved without a pillow, or by using a pillow enhancer for side sleepers.
Don’t Rush Neck Pain – Slowly Adjust Your Posture!
Anyway, you should choose a flat pillow to start with, and see how well you can become comfortable with it. If you can’t get a proper rest, try a higher pillow, but ask your doctor to recommend you the right model or brand. There are some pillows which are developed especially for people with neck pain problems. They may work very well for you, so it’s worth giving this solution a try.
Whatever you decide to do in order to make the transition to the best sleep position, don’t forget that you should never rush such things. Your body needs time to adapt to new positions and to develop new habits. Give it this amount of time, and it is going to reward you by being healthy and pain-free. Pay attention to your well-being, and you’ll be able to achieve anything you want, a new sleeping position included.