How to sleep to avoid neck pain

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belly sleeper
A belly sleeper is apt to experience neck pain in the morning
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How to sleep to avoid neck pain requires the right pillow and mattress

The alarm rings and you roll out of bed. The first thing noticed is pain and stiffness in the neck. This is the result of lying in an awkward position, putting pressure on the neck. Do you need to know to sleep to avoid neck pain?


Sleeping on the back lessens the likelihood pain occurs in the back and neck. This position is beneficial for those who experience acid reflux. It also minimizes wrinkles resulting when a person presses her face against a pillow. Breasts stay perky when back snoozing because the chest is supported and this prevents sagging. The internal organs stay aligned throughout the night when in this position.

When lying on the back, the neck remains in a neutral position, which is good. There are no additional curves created in the back when back sleeping.

Placing a pillow under the knees assists in maintaining good back alignment. Keep the neck and head supported with comfortable pillows but don't prop the head up too high.


When lying on the side this helps maintain an elongated body and doesn't produce pain. Using a thick pillow is helpful because it maintains the head and neck in a neutral position.

Those who get shut-eye while sleeping on their side include the fetal position snoozer; the individual that lies on one side, extending both arms in front of him, and the person who sleeps on his side with both arms pointing down toward the foot of the bed.

To avoid pain upon awakening, the side snoozer should use a pillow made to accommodate the shoulder he is lying on and which feels as if it's in the way. The pillow cradles the head and neck appropriately. As a result, the body remains in alignment.

Stomach Sleepers

When lying on the belly this leads to pain because pressure is placed on the individual's muscles and joints. This causes nerve irritation, numbness, pain and tingling. When the neck it turned to one side for eight hours it is sore and stiff the next morning.

Belly sleeping distorts the alignment of the spine in the individual's neck and flattens the curve in the lower back. This leads to stiffness and pain.

Tossers and Turners

For those who change positions in the night and frequently switch from their side to their back, a curve pillow may be the ideal pillow for you. Regardless of the position you end up in this gently-curved pillow provides the support you need.

Other Culprits

Another culprit leading to discomfort includes sleeping in front of an air conditioner or fan or in a draft. When muscles get cold this causes stiffness. Pull the sheet over your head to prevent too much cold air getting on the upper part of your body.

Soft Mattress

When a mattress is too soft and sags this prevents a person from maintaining good sleep posture. The mattress and pillow need to keep the body aligned during the night so the person doesn't wake up stiff and experiencing pain.


There are pillows designed specifically to give the neck proper support and alignment. Give some serious thought to the pillow you use. Consider how much time you are using it. A lot! There is a wide variety that helps you sleep better and more comfortably. Hand-stuffed pillows as opposed to machine blown chopped fiber, latex or foam rubber are more comfortable.

A pillow designed for back snoozing is contoured to keep the neck, head and shoulders in a relaxing position. This is a firm pillow. When the body relaxes this prevents morning pain and stiffness.

Consider using a crescent shoulder wrap while snoozing. It contours around the neck and eases stress and tension.

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