Do you constantly wake up in the morning with neck pain? Research shows that nearly half of all U.S. adults experience neck pain. Not all instances of neck pain are caused by physical activity, though. Many of them are caused by poor sleeping habits. If you sleep the wrong way, you could experience neck pain. Fortunately, you can prevent sleeping-related neck pain in several ways.
Replace Your Mattress
Your mattress will wear down over time. Even if it's a high-quality and name brand mattress, sleeping on it will cause it to degrade. Over time, your mattress may fail to offer adequate support for your spinal column as well as your neck. This can lead to mornings in which you wake up with back or neck pain. If you've been sleeping on the same mattress for eight or more years, it's probably time to replace it.
Choose a Firm Pillow
A soft pillow may feel comfortable, but it can place you at risk for neck pain. If you sleep on a super-soft pillow, your head will inevitably sink down. With a firm pillow, on the other hand, your head will be supported while you sleep. You don't have to choose a hard pillow. Rather, choose a pillow that's firm and supportive. Along with a new mattress, this can make a world of difference in the quality of your sleep and your level of neck pain.
Use a Single Pillow
Whether it's hard or firm, you should use a single pillow when sleeping to further reduce your risk of neck pain. The problem with using multiple pillows is that it may elevate your head high enough that it causes neck pain. It will bend your neck at an unnatural angle while simultaneously stressing your spinal column.
Massage It Out
While this won't necessarily prevent sleeping-related neck pain, a massage can certainly alleviate it. When your neck hurts in the morning, use your fingers to massage the affected tissue. A self-massage such as this will stimulate blood flow to your neck that reduces pain and improves recovery.
Sleep on Your Side
If you regularly experience neck pain, try sleeping on your side. People who sleep on their stomach or back are generally more likely to experience neck pain than their side-sleeping counterparts. Sleeping on your side helps to align your spinal column to reduce compression.
Don't let neck pain prevent you from getting a good night's rest. Sleeping is a time for your body, as well as your mind, to rest. If you wake up with neck pain, you won't feel refreshed.