If you’re walking around with a niggling pain in your neck and shoulders, you are not alone. One of the most common complaints we hear at Life Changing Beds is neck pain.
When it comes to neck pain, the source can almost always be traced back to your body’s alignment. That being, how your spine, and all those adjacent bones are positioned while you are asleep.
Our spines naturally arch in three places, curving at the neck, upper back and lower back. The ideal sleep setup should provide support in these places, keeping the spine correctly aligned as much as possible. If even one piece of the sleep puzzle is out of place overnight, you’ll likely awake with a stiff, sore neck.
But you don’t need to suffer. Here are five simple, intuitive ways to ensure proper sleep alignment, and help you save money on ibuprofen in the morning.
1. Stop sleeping on your stomach
Forget star signs, what position do you sleep in?
Whether you’re a back, side, or stomach sleeper, the way we settle into bed each night is highly individual and deeply ingrained in most of us since our childhood. But this position can have a huge impact on both your quality of sleep and quality of life.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, the worst possible thing you can do is sleep on your stomach. In this position, your neck is forced to rotate at awkward angles all night (I mean, you can’t breathe facing down), putting strain on your muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, and more. This stress can not only cause stiffness in the morning, but accelerate long-term degeneration.
So if you are sleeping on your stomach, the first step to reducing your neck pain is please, for the love of sleep, stop! As we mentioned, the way we sleep can be a hard habit to break. But we promise this is one worth working for. Your neck, back, and more, will thank you for it.
2. Sleep on your back
If you are looking to relieve neck pain, the ideal position you should be sleeping in is on your back. This position helps to maintain your spine’s natural shape with the least amount of additional support. Typically, this is easiest on a firmer mattress.
In this position, your head should be raised only slightly, so it’s best to sleep on a thinner pillow. This should keep your neck, chin and spine at a similar angle as to when you’re standing up straight.
Sleeping on your back can also help relieve tension headaches, is great for your skin, and can help relieve sinus buildup.
3. Sleep on your side
Although sleeping on your back can be beneficial, a lifelong stomach sleeper may have trouble adjusting to a literal 180° change. Luckily, making the switch to sleeping on one's side can also reduce neck pain, and is a less drastic change.
When sleeping on your side, it’s important to keep your head and chin facing forward and not to tuck your chin in too tightly. Doing so would throw off alignment and only aggravate that poor, sore neck.
A higher profile pillow will help keep your neck aligned with your spine, though it should not be so high that your ear is pushing towards your shoulder.
4. Upgrade your pillow
Though your entire body’s alignment is important when it comes to reducing neck pain, your neck spends most of the night in contact with your pillow. As such, upgrading to a new pillow should be a first point of call when looking to relieve back pain.
30 percent of support required to keep your body comfortably and correctly aligned throughout the night comes from your pillow. If there is any misalignment, your muscles will spend the night in a constant state of tension. The result? Headaches, sore muscles, and you guessed it, a sore neck.
An ideal pillow should keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. For neck pain, memory foam pillows are a great option, as are cervical pillows.
We’ve mentioned above the general shape you’ll want based on your sleeping position, but we understand shopping online for pillows can be daunting! Come in store or contact us to find the best possible pillow for your needs. Try our adjustable contoured pillow to get your sleeping posture just right.
TIP: pillows aren’t just for your heads!
The quest to alleviate neck pain doesn’t stop at the neck
Side sleepers can feel significant l benefits from sleeping with a pillow between their legs. This technique ensures that your hips and pelvis are properly aligned. This reduced stress on the hips in turn prevents the spine from being pulled out of alignment. As well as improving neck pain, this is an easy way to reduce pain in the lower back.
5. Try an adjustable bed
Reducing neck pain ultimately comes down to how our spines align during the night.
Though many individuals will be able to achieve this support with a standard mattress, such as our Natural Soy range, and a change of pillow and sleep position, this is not always the case. If you are experiencing severe neck and back pain, you may benefit from an adjustable mattress and bed.
An adjustable mattress and bed can easily be manoeuvred to ensure your mattress and bed provide support exactly where you need it. This tailored solution is perfect for people with health conditions, disability, chronic pain and more.
Using our exclusive pressure mapping technology, and more than 35 years of expertise, we can precisely analyse your sleeping position to find exactly what support you need and where to ensure that more than just your neck pain improves.
The fact remains, our bodies need rest if they are to recuperate at the end of the day and heal. Proper spinal alignment while you sleep will reduce neck pain, but it will also improve your general health and wellbeing, ensuring you wake up on the right side of the bed day after day.
If you’re experiencing neck pain, we can help. Give us a call on 03 90414765 or book a consultation today to discuss our range of mattresses and beds, and how they can change your life.