Sleeping with neck pain can be painful and frustrating. However, it is always possible to protect your neck and have a peaceful night's sleep! Start by choosing a comfortable, supportive position so you don't strain the area any more. Then, use supports and make the room very comfortable to get a good night's sleep, despite the pain.
Part 1 of 3: Choosing a Sleep Position
Step 1. Sleep on your back for more support
Sleeping on your back will help your neck to align with your spine and support your entire body, as well as ensuring that your neck is not turned to one side at night.
If you snore, sleeping on your back can make the problem worse. Try sleeping on your side
Step 2. Position yourself on the most comfortable side
Sleeping on your side is also a good option, especially if it's more comfortable for you than on your back. The side position will give the neck more support, resting on only one side of the pillow.
- If the pain makes it difficult to turn your head to one side, lie down on the side of your body where your neck can be turned without any pain.
- If you tend to have lower back pain, a sideways position may be a good option, as the spine naturally curves in sleep.
Step 3. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as the position strains the neck
Sleeping on your stomach can be harmful to your neck, back and spine. If that's the case, try to turn sideways.
- You may need to place pillows on either side of your body to keep you from rolling over and lying on your stomach.
- Avoid putting tennis balls in your clothes to keep yourself from rolling over on your stomach or to suspend snoring, as this can end up creating more back pain.
Part 2 of 3: Using Support Accessories
Step 1. Use a cervical pillow to support your neck
These types of pillows have a depression in the center where you rest your head and support your neck by raising it slightly. They are made of foam to provide sufficient support and padding.
- Look for natural latex pillows if you don't like the heat the viscoelastic material can cause overnight. But viscoelastic is the best option if you have a latex allergy.
- Avoid pillows filled with feathers or buckwheat, as they are too soft to support your neck while you sleep.
Step 2. Choose a thick pillow if your mattress is firm
Use a thicker one that fills the gap between your head and the mattress. The material should allow your shoulders to sink into the bed, leaving your neck and head aligned and well supported.
You can also try stacking some pillows to make your neck comfortable. Adjust the amount needed based on the sleeping position you choose, as you may need to use more than one pillow to get comfortable
Step 3. Use a thin pillow if your mattress is soft
If you have a memory foam mattress or pillow top mattress, use a thinner pillow to fill the smaller gap between your head and the mattress.
Step 4. Avoid making a pile of pillows too high
It is usually necessary to use a maximum of one to two pillows to support the neck and head properly. Avoid sleeping with too many pillows or too high a pile, as the head may sink into the chest or the neck may be too far forward, when in fact it should follow the natural curve of the spine when lying down.
Step 5. Place a towel or small pillow under your neck for extra padding
Wrap a towel and place it under your neck for better support overnight. Another option is to use a small tube-shaped pillow.
If you are concerned about the towel or pillow moving at night, place it inside the pillowcase so it stays in the right place
Step 6. Place a pillow under your knees if you sleep on your back
This way, the position will be more comfortable, as the pillow will keep the spine straight and the neck aligned during sleep.
Step 7. Place a pillow between your legs if you sleep on your side
The position is more comfortable for those who sleep on their side with a regular or long pillow between their legs. Hug it across your chest and between your legs to keep your legs bent and your spine aligned.
Part 3 of 3: Sleeping well
Step 1. Keep the room cool, quiet and dark
Set up the ideal environment to relax and fall asleep more easily. Dim the lights in the room and keep everything quiet. The temperature should be cooler, ideal for sleep.
Close the bedroom curtain to block out natural light, letting your body know it's time for bed
Step 2. Stretch your neck before bed
Roll it from side to side to stretch it well and avoid strain. Try stretching your arms above your head and leaning your body from side to side to release tension in your shoulders and neck. You can also lean forward, letting your neck hang down toward your toes to stretch and stretch the area well.
Make it a habit to do at least one or two stretches before bed to relax your neck and reduce pain
Step 3. Set your cell phone aside for an hour before bed
Hanging out on social media or reading news on your cell phone can strain your neck muscles when you tilt your head or move your head to look at the small screen. The cell's blue light can also block the body's release of melatonin, a natural chemical that helps you sleep. Instead of using your cell phone, read a book propped up on a pillow on your bed to better support your neck.
- Listen to relaxing music to help you sleep, as the act does not require any physical effort using your neck muscles.
- Try meditation at night as part of your sleep routine.
Step 4. Use a warm compress on your neck before bed
To relax your mind and muscles, use a compress on the affected area for 15 minutes. Don't let it get so hot that it burns; place a towel between the skin and the compress, if necessary.
Step 5. Take a pain reliever before bed if the pain is bothersome
Follow the directions on the package insert regarding dosage and never take more than recommended.