Tips to Improve Your Neck Health While Sleeping

Category: Blog

The neck supports and mobilizes the head. That said, it is important to keep your neck healthy and ache free to avoid any limitations in your daily life. Neck pain occurs when there is pressure or tension on the cervical spine which in turn can create tension on the nerves that run through it. This can be caused by a variety of things. One of which is sleep.  Sleeping in an unusual position can be damaging to your neck health. It is important to have healthy sleep habits to help maintain a healthy neck.

Check out the tips below to improve your neck health while sleeping.

Find the best pillow height.

It is important to find a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck when you lie down to sleep. If your pillow is too low, you risk straining your neck. If your pillow is too high, you also risk straining your neck and obstructing your breathing.

If you are a back sleeper, a thin pillow is your best option. You want to maintain the space between the back of your head and your shoulders, keeping it in a neutral position (neutral means what your spine would look like when standing with ideal posture).

Side sleepers need a thicker pillow to ensure their head is in the middle of their shoulders. The height and width of your shoulder will determine the exact thickness. As with sleeping on your back, you want to support the space between your head and the side of the shoulder you are laying on. Always ensure that you placing your head in a neutral position (looking straight ahead, not down).

Sleeping on your stomach is the most detrimental position for your neck and should ideally be avoided.  When sleeping on your stomach your head and cervical spine is continually rotated throughout the night.  This rotation is not only in the neck itself but can continue down into the mid to lower spine. This will put an excessive strain on the muscle, ligaments and especially the nerves that run through the spine, not to mention that you will be sleeping on your chest which will create short shallow breaths throughout the night.

Put your phone away.

Checking your phone at night, even if just for a few minutes, can cause neck pain. When you look at your phone in bed, you may tilt your head up to 60 degrees. This angle strains your neck muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves.

Another negative about looking at your phone in bed, is that the light your phone emits can actually block your body’s release of melatonin. This makes it harder to fall asleep. It’s a good rule of thumb to not look at any screens up to one hour before getting into bed.

Stretch your neck.

If you work at a desk all day, the strain from slouching or poor posture can cause neck pain. This pain can persist throughout your sleep. Stretching your neck before going to sleep can help loosen tight muscles from a stressful day.  We have weekly workshops that will guide you through which stretches are best for your neck and whole spine.  It’s important that you know what stretches to perform and how to use proper form when doing them.

We must always remember that the spine, no matter which section, houses the master control system of the body, the nervous system.  We often forget that the spine is one functional unit, so if something is happening in your neck it is still effecting the lower back and vice versa.  The upper cervical spine nerves themselves control up to 33% of your bodily functions.  Good spinal health is crucial for a healthy, vibrant body and life!

Looking to further improve your neck health? We may have a solution for you! Call Rai Chiropractic today to schedule a consultation. 604-371-4320