Sleep is an essen­tial part of our life. We rest and recov­er in sleep, both phys­i­cal­ly and emo­tion­al­ly. But it hap­pens that you want to sleep, and there is time for this, but you can’t fall asleep. One of the most com­mon caus­es of sleep dis­or­ders is pain in the cer­vi­cal spine.

More­over, often the neck does not par­tic­u­lar­ly both­er a per­son dur­ing the day, but when the time comes for a night’s rest, he does not man­age to lie down com­fort­ably, and in the morn­ing it turns out that he did not man­age to ful­ly relax. Med­AboutMe fig­ured out how to learn to fall asleep even if your neck hurts.

Neck pain and sleep

Neck pain and sleep

Accord­ing to doc­tors, from 10% to 20% of adults com­plain of neck pain peri­od­i­cal­ly or reg­u­lar­ly. In about half of the cas­es, it goes away on its own, but in every sec­ond it becomes chron­ic and becomes a con­stant com­pan­ion. Accord­ing to WHO experts, today back and neck pain is one of the most com­mon dis­abling con­di­tions, not infe­ri­or in inci­dence and con­se­quences to arthri­tis and frac­tures.

Poor sleep in itself increas­es pain in the neck and slows down a per­son­’s recov­ery. So, in 2017, Span­ish sci­en­tists pub­lished a study on the qual­i­ty of life of peo­ple with chron­ic neck pain, in which they proved that poor sleep wors­ens the con­di­tion of such patients.

In 2016, a team of sci­en­tists from the UK, the US and sev­er­al coun­tries in Latin Amer­i­ca pub­lished a study that involved more than 12,000 work­ers from 47 occu­pa­tion­al groups (office work­ers, nurs­es and man­u­al work­ers) from 18 coun­tries. It turned out that office work­ers sit­ting at com­put­er key­boards most often suf­fer from neck pain. Chron­ic shoul­der pain was more com­mon in peo­ple who, due to their posi­tion, had to raise their hands often. Any man­u­al labor, in which a per­son is forced to take an uncom­fort­able posi­tion, also leads to pain in the neck and shoul­ders.

Wrong posture for sleeping: consequences

In itself, the wrong posi­tion of the body in a dream, even in a healthy per­son, can lead to a vari­ety of unpleas­ant sen­sa­tions through­out the body. These can be pains in the neck, shoul­der blades or arms with lim­it­ed mobil­i­ty, headaches, not to men­tion poor sleep, which leads to mem­o­ry impair­ment, prob­lems with coor­di­na­tion, quick think­ing and the abil­i­ty to solve var­i­ous prob­lems.

The human head weighs approx­i­mate­ly 4.5–5 kg. Our neck mus­cles car­ry this weight all day long. If at night the load is not removed from them and this load is dis­trib­uted in a posi­tion that is uncom­fort­able for the neck mus­cles, then poor sleep and the next morn­ing a sore neck, or even a head, are pro­vid­ed.

Choosing the right sleeping position and pillow

Choosing the right sleeping position and pillow

For pain in the neck, sleep­ing on the stom­ach is con­traindi­cat­ed, since in this case the load on the neck, even in the absence of a pil­low, will be sig­nif­i­cant­ly high­er than when sleep­ing on the back or on the side. How­ev­er, it hap­pens that a per­son in child­hood gets used to sleep­ing on his stom­ach, and then he will have to retrain him­self.

Sleep­ing on your back is a pos­ture of max­i­mum relax­ation for the spine. If you take a thin pil­low, you can keep the same angle between the head and neck as dur­ing a stand­ing posi­tion, that is, min­i­mize the load.

Rules for healthy sleep on your back:

  • The pil­low should be fair­ly thin.
  • Anatom­i­cal and ortho­pe­dic pil­lows, includ­ing those with a mem­o­ry effect, give a good effect. The height of such a pil­low should not exceed 6–10 cm.
  • Ortho­pe­dic mat­tress­es also pro­vide addi­tion­al rest for the back. Mat­tress­es that are too soft lead to unphys­i­o­log­i­cal body curves. But sleep­ing “on the door” is also unhealthy due to too hard con­tact of the body with the sur­face in the hips and shoul­ders.

Sleep­ing on your side allows you to posi­tion your head as neu­tral­ly as pos­si­ble with a straight chin. If you sleep main­ly on your side, then it is bet­ter to lift the pil­low high­er to com­fort­ably posi­tion your shoul­der and main­tain a straight line “head-neck-spine”.

Rules for healthy sleep on your side

  • Check­ing the height of the pil­low (aver­age 12 cm): if the pil­low is the cor­rect height, the ears are one above the oth­er, on the same ver­ti­cal. Too low or too high a pil­low over­loads the neck and shoul­der, which increas­es pain.
  • When sleep­ing on your side, the chin should be kept straight, with­out tilt­ing the head to the chest.
  • To align the low­er spine, you can put anoth­er pil­low between your knees.

If your shoul­der or neck hurts, then you should sleep on your side on the oppo­site side. If you sleep on your back, then a pil­low should be placed on the side of the sore shoul­der or neck so as not to roll there.

If your back hurts, then you need to sleep in such a way that the posi­tion of the ver­te­brae is as phys­i­o­log­i­cal as pos­si­ble, that is:

  • on the back,
  • on the back with pil­lows under the knees,
  • in the fetal posi­tion
  • on the side with a pil­low between the knees.

Other ways to improve sleep for neck pain

Dur­ing the peri­od of exac­er­ba­tion of pain at night, non-steroidal anti-inflam­ma­to­ry drugs (NSAIDs) in the form of gels or mus­cle relax­ants can be used. But it should be remem­bered that they should be tak­en only as direct­ed by a doc­tor and no longer than a few days in order to reduce the risk of side effects.

Depend­ing on the cause of chron­ic pain in the neck, before going to bed, you can use either a light 15–20-minute mas­sage of the affect­ed area with a piece of ice wrapped in a cloth, or warm­ing up in a warm bath.

Light stretch­ing works well, which should be done slow­ly, with­out lead­ing to severe pain. More­over, it should be done before going to bed and imme­di­ate­ly after wak­ing up.

An exem­plary stretch­ing com­plex for neck pain

  • Slow cir­cu­lar move­ments of the shoul­ders back and down — 10 times.
  • Slow­ly bring the shoul­der blades behind your back — 10 times.
  • Grab the back of your head with your hands and pull your head with your chin to your chest, hold at the low­est point for 30 sec­onds.
  • Stretch your ear to your shoul­der: right to right, left to left — 10 times in each direc­tion.


Peo­ple with a sore neck will help restore qual­i­ty sleep:

  1. Cor­rect pos­ture for sleep­ing.
  2. Prop­er pil­low and mat­tress.
  3. NSAIDs or mus­cle relax­ants.
  4. Tem­per­a­ture mas­sage.
  5. Stretch­ing the mus­cles of the neck.

От Yraa

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