Catch more zzz’s with less neck pain!

Do you wake up with neck pain? Does it interfere with your sleep?

Many people with dizziness also have neck pain. Sometimes slight changes to how they position their head and neck at night can decrease the pain.

First, let’s talk about how you sleep: Side, stomach or back?

Side sleepers

Try to support the natural curve of your neck with your pillow. If that’s tough to do with your pillow, roll a small towel and place it under your neck, just below the pillow. Or try a cervical pillow that has the curve built into it. Aim for one that isn’t too high or too low; it should let your head and neck stay aligned with the rest of your body.

Now work your way down the chain, making sure the rest of your spine is supported. Take note of your body positioning once you are lying in bed. Does your top shoulder roll forward? If so, fold pillow in half and tuck it under the top arm, to support your upper body and keep your shoulders stacked over each other. How does your lower back feel? If you notice any tension, bend your knees slightly and place a pillow between them, to align your hips.

Sleeping on your back

It’s best to use a pillow that isn’t too high or too low – ideally you want one that allows your neck to stay relaxed and “neutral,” or in line with the rest of your body. You can place a pillow under your knees to help your lower back feel more relaxed.

Sleeping on your stomach

Unfortunately for stomach sleepers, this is the position most likely to aggravate neck pain. If you can’t sleep on your side or back, stick to a thin pillow or none at all.

Pillow density

You may want to try a few firmer and softer pillows to see what works best for you. Foam pillows can be a great option if you want something that conforms to your head and neck.

Getting out of bed

This technique can help keep your neck and shoulders more relaxed:

Start by rolling onto your side, facing the side of the bed you will get out from. Swing your legs down as you push yourself up with your outer, then lower arm. This technique puts less stress on the neck and back, versus trying to sit straight up, which can cause the neck to tense up.

To get into bed, reverse this by sitting and lowering yourself slowly onto your side while swinging your legs up to the bed. From there you can roll onto your back or to your other side as needed.

Consider a new mattress

If you’ve tried these tips and are still having neck pain after sleeping, it may be time to shop for a new mattress. The National Sleep Foundation recommends getting a new one every 8 years.