Is neck pain keeping you up at night? While there are some factors, such as arthritis and aging that are out of your control, there are a few ways to prevent neck pain so you can be on your way to a better night’s sleep.
Find your perfect pillow
A supportive pillow is essential for a good night’s sleep, free from pain. If your pillow is too low, or too high, it can cause your neck to become bent abnormally causing neck and shoulder muscles to strain. When a pillow fits our body type, our head, neck, and shoulders are aligned to relieve pressure points throughout the night.
Follow these guidelines based on your sleeping style when choosing your pillow:
- Sleeping on your back: Look for a medium support pillow that maintains the natural curvature of your head, neck, and upper spine, such as the TEMPUR-Neck Pillow, throughout the night.
- Sleeping on your side: Choose a pillow that is high with firm support to cradle the neck, head, and shoulders. The CountourSide Pillow by Relax The Back uses a memory foam contour and shoulder cradle to provide correct support for proper spinal alignment.
- Sleeping on your stomach: This position is not recommended as it can cause strain on the back and neck muscles.
Put your phone away
Many of us are guilty of checking our phones before we go to sleep. This not only inhibits sleep due to the blue light our phones emit, blocking our body’s release of melatonin, it also leads to neck and shoulder strain caused by the position of our heads while looking down at our phones. Try putting your phone, and all other electronics, away 90 minutes – 1 hour before you go to bed. Alternatively, if this is unrealistic for you, download an app for your phone or computer, or use already installed settings, to turn your devices on “Night Shift” an hour before bed. This adjusts the color temperature on the screen to cut down on the blue light exposure.
It can be a vicious cycle. Neck pain makes it difficult for you to sleep; lack of sleep can cause pain to worsen. Take a look at your current sleep habits. Be sure that you are going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. Avoid caffeine and alcohol a few hours before you go to bed and exercise on a regular basis. These, paired with a supportive pillow and mattress, can all help improve your overall quality of sleep.
Neck stretches before bed
Loosen tight muscles with simple neck stretches. Strengthening your neck with certain exercises can also help prevent pain making it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Visit your local Relax The Back location to be fitted for your perfect pillow. We have an assortment of products that can assist you, including Dr. Riter’s REAL-EaSE Neck Support, which is the most advanced neck support available. REAL-EaSE cradles your neck along the base of the skull for maximum pain relief and allows neck and shoulder muscles to rest in a fully relaxed position. We understand everyone has a different body type and sleep style. Through one-on-one support, we will help you find a pillow that fits all of your comfort needs. Stop by to test out the different styles, shapes, and brands.
If switching your pillow and sleep position, performing stretches, or improving your sleep hygiene do not provide relief, consider speaking with a physical therapist or your doctor. There may be an underlying chronic condition that should be treated.