• Dr. James Fonner

Best Sleeping Position for Neck

Getting sufficient sleep is crucial. What is worse than not getting a good night's rest and waking up with shoulder, back, head, and neck pain? The human body needs sleep so that individuals can rejuvenate themselves. Pain and sleepless nights result in a vicious cycle. One may cause the other, and this may also lead to other adverse effects. Keep health in mind when choosing a position to sleep in.


Back and neck pain causes a person's muscles to tense up and prevent relaxation. This prevents any healing from taking place while a person is sleeping. During a regular sleep cycle, the brain releases particular hormones that repair blood vessels and stimulate tissue growth. This is possible because a person's blood pressure and heart are slowed down. Throughout this time, the body boosts the immune system, and it produces more white blood cells. These are a few reasons why it is essential to get enough sleep and why one needs to be aware of their sleeping position.


There are ways to reduce neck pain and cervical strain by sleeping in an appropriate position and gaining all relevant information. This content provides information that discusses what sleeping positions are the best for the neck and the rest of the human body, so keep reading!


What Position Should a Person's Neck Be in When Sleeping?


Certain sleeping positions have been recommended for the body. These have been established through various studies that have been conducted by professionals. There is endless informational content available with regards to this topic.


The best sleeping positions for neck pain are on one's side or back so the neck can decompress. Ideally, sleeping on the back is the best position. This is the case because individuals can make sure that their pillow supports the neck's natural curve. Flatter pillows also provide better cushioning for the head.

Using a taller pillow is beneficial for individuals who sleep on their side. The pillow should be placed under the neck so that the neck and head achieve the correct alignment. This is also good for keeping the spine straight and reducing any strain placed on the neck.


What Are The Best Sleeping Positions for a Person?

Ideal sleeping positions are the ones that enable people to rest comfortably. With this being said, it is also important to remember that comfort does not always imply the correct position. A person needs to be open to making minor modifications to the way this sleep so that their health is prioritized. Sleeping on your back is the best position to sleep in to help get rid of any back or neck pain and to help with the alignment of the spine.


The best sleeping positions are those that maintain alignment. One should aim to keep their shoulders, hips, spine, and ears in a straight line. This may not always be possible, but one should strive to achieve peaceful sleep patterns. The process starts with the head and neck and follows down to the rest of the body. There are spaces between the mattress and your body; this is natural and expected! However, one should attempt to fill these gaps with the use of pillows so that less strain is placed on the back or neck muscles. Keep in mind that the further a person brings their head forward, the more stress is being placed on the spine. Hence, do not choose a pillow that is too fluffy or thick. Placing a pillow under your knees may also help fill the spaces and support your back, neck, spine, and shoulders.


A common question to consider is, ' What about the fact that most individuals move around in their sleep?' Many people do move countless times during the night. This means that there is no point in trying to stick to one sleeping position. To deal with this, one should keep multiple pillows around themselves to provide adequate support in various sleep positions. This can help to prevent a person from moving around too much and offers support to the head. It promotes good spine health as well.



Back Sleeping

Sleeping on your back is known to be the best position for health purposes and to deal with any type of pain, such as lower back pain. This sleeping position distributes the entire weight of one's body evenly across the spine. Sleeping on your back with a pillow under the knees is a fantastic sleeping position for the spine. Back sleepers genuinely enjoy a peaceful nights' sleep.


Side Sleeping

For those who sleep on their sides or one side, place a firmly shaped pillow between the knees. This is going to help maintain the alignment of the spine, hips, shoulders, and pelvis. A side sleeper should ideally alternate between sides throughout the night. This is essential to not place all the weight on a single side of the body, as this could cause a stiff spine or head and neck pain.



Why Should a Person Not Sleep on Their Stomach?

It may not seem like it but sleeping on one's stomach is something to avoid at all costs. Why? If a person sleeps on their stomach, they have to twist and turn their neck to each side. This places a great deal of unnecessary pressure on the nerves in the neck. Learning how to sleep in a different position is not easy; however, an individual can use other pillows to try to force themselves into sleeping in a side or back position.


Is It Better for Your Neck to Sleep Without a Pillow?

No! One should invest in a high-quality pillow, especially if neck pain is an issue to promote good head, neck, and spine health. The pillow that the person is using should provide support, such as a memory foam pillow or cervical pillow.


The only time someone should consider not using a pillow is if they sleep on their stomach; hence, another reason why sleeping on your stomach is not recommended. This is the case because it keeps the strange neck angles to a minimum; hence, use a thin pillow or no pillow at all.


Avoid using pillows that interfere with spinal alignment or that do not offer any support to the body. These do not help one's health in any way.


How Should One Sleep to Relieve Neck Pain?


Neck pain can often be caused by sleeping; thus, fixing the way one sleeps can relieve the pain. The best sleeping positions to avoid neck pain are those that have no sudden neck or head movements, unnatural spine angles, or those that place additional strain on the body, especially the spine. Remember that a bed is a place of comfort and health, so the best practice is to find sleeping positions that are suitable to a person's tastes and to invest in a good quality pillow that provides adequate support to the head, neck, back, spine, shoulders, and knees.


To relieve neck pain and be content with one's sleeping patterns, individuals can attempt:

  • Sleeping upright

  • Purchasing a good quality mattress

  • Create a calming atmosphere when sleeping

  • Try a variety of pillows

Sleeping Upright

Sleeping in an upright position is said to help relieve both neck and back pain. If someone decides to adopt this sleeping position, a horseshoe-shaped pillow is recommended as it provides neck support. Try using a pillow for the lower back to maintain the natural curve of the spine.


Purchasing a Good Quality Mattress

Are you content with the mattress you own? Whether a person wants to admit it or not, things need to be replaced over time, including mattresses. There are so many different types, so explore your options before making the final choice. It is an important decision that has to be made as mattresses impact the entire body, from the head to the spine and legs.


Create a Calming Atmosphere When Sleeping

The surrounding environment has a major impact on the way someone sleeps. Are you content with your bedroom? Pay attention to finer details such as the room's lighting, temperature, organization, placement of the bed, and the methods used to prepare for sleep. It may not seem like it, but these contribute to the way individuals sleep, which affects back and neck pain.


Try a Variety of Pillows

There is no shortage when it comes to the type of available pillows. From memory foam to duck feathers to a thin pillow, a person is spoilt for choice! Someone should use a pillow based on the position they sleep in most often and its' impact on the spine. Is this on the back or side? Take note of these factors when considering different options.


The Bottom Line


The way someone sleeps affects whether they experience neck or back pain and spine alignment issues. Making a few simple adjustments to sleeping positions can do a whole lot of good for someone. If the pain is a problem that just does not want to go away, it is important to seek medical advice and gain as much health information as possible from a chiropractic office in Columbus, OH on the cause of the issue.


Whether people are heavy or light sleepers, nobody is immune to the neck or back pain from sleeping in the incorrect position. It is time to say goodbye to those restless nights and make use of the best sleeping positions available to everyone. Individuals should not let neck pain or back pain get the better of them.

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