Table of Contents
How to Relieve Neck Pain from Sleeping
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is.
But what happens when you wake up with neck pain?
It can be really tough to get comfortable and can make it hard to get back to sleep.
What causes the pain?
What can you do to relieve neck pain?
Table of Contents
What causes neck pain from sleeping?
The causes of neck pain from sleeping can be divided into two main categories: poor support and sleep position. Poor support such as using the wrong pillow or mattress, sleeping in the wrong position, or having bad posture can all contribute to neck pain.
Additionally, stress and certain activities during the day can strain the neck muscles and cause tension which can lead to pain. To prevent neck pain, it is important to use a medium-firm mattress and a supportive pillow that will help keep your neck in a neutral position.
Sleeping on your back or side are usually the best positions for neck pain as stomach sleeping can put too much pressure on the nerves in your neck.
Can a weighted blanket cause neck pain?
No, a sleeping with a weighted blanket itself cannot cause neck pain. However, sleeping in the wrong position, or having bad posture because of a too heavy weighted blanket can all contribute to neck pain and can cause a misalignment of the neck and spine, resulting in muscle strain, soreness, and subsequent neck pain.
The best strategy for reducing neck pain is to get a well choosen weighted blanket and to practice good sleep hygiene. If you find that your neck pain is persistent try not to use your weighted blanket for a period of time.
The best ways to relieve neck pain from sleeping
1. Lie on a Neck Pillow
Lying on a neck pillow can help relieve neck pain caused by sleeping by providing the appropriate height and thickness to better support the head and neck, keeping the spine aligned and reducing pressure buildup during sleep. Studies have shown that latex pillows may be the most effective at providing support for side sleepers, while spring pillows and memory foam pillows can also help prevent or reduce neck pain.
Furthermore, having a pillow between the knees when sleeping on the side with ruptured eardum can help maintain good sleep posture and proper alignment of the cervical spine.
2. Adjust the Position of the Bed
Adjusting the position of the bed can help relieve neck pain from sleeping by ensuring the head is the same height as the rest of the body, having a firm mattress, and sitting upright. Pillows can also be used to fill gaps between the body and the mattress, helping to keep the body in a straight line for better alignment.
3. Stretch Your Neck
Stretching your neck can help to relieve neck pain from sleeping by addressing the two root causes. One is to change your sleeping position to your back if you are a side sleeper, or back or side if you are a stomach sleeper. The second is to get a new pillow, one that will keep your head and neck aligned with the rest of your spine. Additionally, stretching the neck muscles regularly can reduce stiffness and maintain flexibility, thus aiding in reducing neck pain.
Stretches like turning the head side to side and looking up and down can help to gently stretch the neck muscles and reduce neck pain. Furthermore, avoiding limiting movement too much, taking frequent breaks, and avoiding cradling a phone between the ear and neck can help to relieve neck pain from sleeping.
4. Use a Heating Pad or a Hot Water Bottle
A heating pad or a hot water bottle can help relieve neck pain from sleeping by reducing stiffness caused by incorrect sleep positions and angles. Heat application is a tried-and-true method of relieving pain. To use a hot water bottle, fill the bottle halfway with hot water and apply it to the affected area for at least 10 minutes or until the pain subsides. Do not sleep with a heating pad on, it may be used in the morning to provide warmth while a rice-filled eye pillow that has been heated in the microwave may also be used.
5. Try Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques to relieve neck pain while sleeping include gentle forms of exercise such as yoga and tai chi, as well as mindful breathing and meditation. Taking a few deep breaths and focusing on what is happening in the moment can reduce your perception of pain over time.
Neck flexibility exercises can also help, as well as massaging the neck with essential oils such as citronella, tea tree oil, and lavender.
Finally, yoga for neck pain can help release tension and build muscle to prevent further injury or pain. One specific stretch involves standing with hands at sides, turning the head left and right until a gentle stretch is felt, and holding for 10-20 seconds.
Tips for preventing and relieving neck pain from sleeping
1. Ensure Your Pillow Is Properly Positioned
Ensuring your pillow is properly positioned can help prevent and relieve neck pain from sleeping by allowing your head and neck to stay in a relaxed and straight alignment. The use of a pillow specially designed for back sleepers can fill any gaps between the body and the mattress, reducing the stress on the neck and spine.
Memory foam pillows are also great for neck pain, as they conform to the natural shape of your head and neck. Additionally, for side sleepers, it is important to keep the spine straight by using a higher pillow under the neck than the head.
2. Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach
It is important to avoid sleeping on one’s stomach when trying to prevent or relieve neck pain because it can strain the neck muscles and cause them to become stiff and uncomfortable in the morning. Sleeping on the stomach also increases pressure on the cervical spine and back muscles, leading to additional strain.
Research shows that stomach sleepers report more neck pain and stiffness than those who sleep on their side or back. Furthermore, sleeping on the stomach limits recovery from neck pain, as it requires the head to be turned to one side for long periods of time. This sleep posture can also cause improper body alignment that increases the weight on the neck.
3. Don’t Sleep With a Too Heavy Weighted Blanket
Sleeping with a too heavy weighted blanket can cause or exacerbate neck pain. When the head and neck are not in alignment, excessive weight can be placed on the neck, which can cause discomfort and stiffness.
- Choose a weighted blanket that is the right size for you. The blanket should not be too big for you to move freely in your sleep.
- Consider the weight of the weighted blanket. The weight should be 10-15% of your body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, the blanket should weigh between 15 and 22.5 lbs.
- Use the Corala Weighted Blanket Calculator to find the ideal weight of a weighted blanket. It takes into account your individual bodyweight or the combined weight of a couple.
- Make sure that the weighted blanket is evenly distributed. The weight should be evenly spread out across the entire blanket, not concentrated in one area, especially not on your painful neck region.
4. Change Up Your Position While You Sleep
Changing up your sleeping position can help prevent and relieve neck pain in a number of ways. First, it is important to ensure that your head and neck are at the same height as the rest of your body when sleeping. This will help to alleviate any uncomfortable pressure put on the neck muscles and joints.
5. Stretch Your Neck While You’re Awake
Stretching your neck while you’re awake can help prevent and relieve neck pain and joint pain by loosening and strengthening the neck muscles, ligaments, and joints. Regular stretching can reduce the risk of future neck ligament sprains, muscle and tendon strains, and torticollis, while also helping to reduce the pain and stiffness caused by awkward sleeping positions, sudden movements, and preexisting injuries.
What is the optimal sleeping posture for reducing neck pain?
The optimal sleeping posture for reducing neck pain is on the side, with the head and neck aligned with the rest of the body. It is important to find a pillow that is not too fluffy or too flat to help keep your head and neck in a neutral position. An optimal body posture may even make you taller during sleep.
A study found that rubber pillows decreased neck pain and promoted deeper sleep due to proper alignment of the cervical spine. If a person prefers a feather pillow, they can roll up a small towel and place it underneath their neck for extra support. Additionally, switching sides if one side begins to feel numb or sore can help reduce pain.
How can massage help with neck pain?
Massage has been shown to be an effective way to alleviate neck pain. By manipulating muscles and tendons in the neck, massage can increase blood circulation and reduce muscle tension. This, in turn, can help to relax stiff muscles, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief. Massage can also be combined with other techniques, such as applying heat or ice, to provide additional relief.
Why am I waking up with neck pain every morning?
Waking up with neck pain every morning is a common experience for many, and there are multiple potential causes. Poor sleeping posture, using the wrong pillow or mattress, using a too heavy weighted blanket and having an underlying neck inijury or back pain are all possible causes of morning neck pain. Staying in the same position for too long while sleeping can strain your muscles and ligaments, leading to stiffness and pain – it even can change the shape of your face.
Are there any yoga poses that can help relieve neck pain?
Yes, there are several yoga poses that can help relieve neck pain. Neck stretches and rotations, shoulder rolls, and other gentle exercises can help release tension and build muscle to prevent further injury or pain. Meditation and mindful breathing techniques can also help to relieve stress and prevent tension in the neck, as can gentle forms of exercise such as yoga and tai chi.
Neck exercises for mobility and strength can also help to loosen a stiff neck and improve blood flow to the area. If the pain persists, alternative treatments such as chiropractic care, sleep acupuncture, or massage may provide long-term relief.