The journey to a pain-free sleep starts with an awareness of sleep positions and proper sleep tools. By the latter we mean, a good mattress and pillow that act as companions to your choice of sleep position. The causes of neck pain may not be in our control entirely as it may have to do with regular ageing, however, there are many other things you can do to prevent neck-related pains. So don’t just restrict yourself to regular mattresses and pillow for bed. We are talking about even when you take a nap during air or land travel too!
Why Sleep position Causes Neck Pain?
You may not realise it but sleeping positions have a direct link to neck pain aggravation. Try sleeping in an awkward position without a pillow to support your neck and head and you’ll know what we are saying. If you are sleeping on a mattress or on a seat upright without neck support, you are bound to welcome strain on your neck muscles.
There are two sleeping positions that are most relieving to the neck, especially when in bed- either on your back or on your side. Without the right pillow to support your neck during these positions, the intricate structures of your neck will be tensed. Eventually, these worsen existing neck pains and can lead to stiffness and severe pain during the day time. Therefore, it’s very important to invest in a pillow for neck pain and otherwise.
Choose the right pillow
Your head and neck spend long hours resting on a pillow. Once you’ve understood your preferred sleep position, your next step should be choosing a pillow that suits this position. It’s important to invest in quality head and neck supporting pillows to ensure your spine is aligned, no matter what your individual sleep position is. Sleep experts, Wakefit, recommend light fluffy pillows that provide adequate support. Use these to keep your neck and spine in a straight line regardless of your sleep position:
- Back sleepers: Keep a small pillow under the back of your knees to reduce stress on the spine while a regular pillow must support the head
- Stomach sleepers: Place a flat pillow under your stomach and pelvic area to better align the spine. Sleeping without a pillow on the head can help.
- Side sleepers: A firm pillow between your legs can avoid misalignment caused by the upper leg. A higher pillow is advised with side sleepers, so the neck and head are aligned straight over the shoulders as they would when standing in good posture.
Planning a long trip? A neck pillow is specifically designed to alleviate physical discomfort during travel and are different from regular pillows used in bed. Chiropractors and other medical professionals recommend using one especially when you are in a place with no support to rest on. Whether you have a medical issue related to your neck or back or want to stop snoring by opening airways, it’s always beneficial investing in one to support your natural state of resting when asleep upright. If you are a frequent traveller, then a neck pillow is a must-have.
Don’t forget to review your existing pillow for sags. Like any other bedding, sleep pillows get extremely dirty with regular use. Since our body continuously grows new skin cells, simultaneously, it sheds close to 40,000 cells per hour- that’s 1 million in just under 24 hours. Of course, the head only contributes to a fraction of cell loss, however, it’s enough filth to make your pillow a playground to some fatal and non-fatal bacteria. Medical professionals recommend changing pillows every 2 years.