Many patients come to me with neck pain, complaining that it’s sore when they wake up, its sore when they’re trying to get to sleep and it wakes them up in the middle of the night. Being sleepy and grumpy certainly doesn’t help with managing the pain.
Before we get to the DO’s, let’s start with one big DON’T.
DON’T SLEEP ON YOUR FRONT
Sleeping on the front forces the neck into extreme rotation and forced extension. The position of your neck is similar to looking as far as you can over your shoulder, then tipping your head to the same side (tip your ear backwards) and then looking up towards the ceiling. I think we can agree that’s not very comfortable.
Wrinkles! Sleeping with a crumpled up face all night won’t assist the expensive anti-wrinkle lotions and potions in the fight against ageing!
If you absolutely must sleep on your front, don’t put a cushion under your neck & face, either put it under your shoulders and face, or sleep without one, as this takes a small amount of extra pressure off your neck.
DON’T SLEEP IN THE FETAL POSITION
This can be less easy to manage. Sleeping in the fetal position compresses the diaphragm and digestive system restricting normal breathing mechanics & digestion. Curving the back forward, and bringing the knees up compresses all of these joints, which can aggravate joints under a lot of strain, or arthritic ones, making morning stiffness in these joints worse.
Do use a pillow in this sleeping position, it is necessary to fill the gap between the shoulder and the ear when the pillow has weight on it.
OK: Sleeping on side
With the right pillows (as advised above) sleeping on the side can be good for people with back pain who might find the arching of the back involved in lying on the back painful.
Sleeping on the side can also allow the back to have the freedom to move around and fidget into the right position. Flexible people may find that their back twists a lot and becomes uncomfortable during the night. For keeping the back in alignment, putting a pillow between the knees can be very helpful.
Lying on the side with a pillow between the knees (and under bump!) is often the most comfortable position during pregnancy.
Lying on the side is usually better than other sleeping positions for reducing snoring.
DO LIE ON YOUR BACK
The weight is distributed comfortably over your entire body. Assuming the correct use of pillow:
The neck and back remain in the optimum alignment reducing undue stress and strain on muscles, ligaments, nerves or blood vessels of the neck.
If the low back is arching when lying flat, put a small pillow under the knees to take the pressure off.
AND FINALLY, IF AFTER TRYING THESE TIPS YOU ARE STILL WAKING UP WITH ACHES AND PAINS, BOOK IN FOR AN EXAMINATION, OR CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION on 02072054333