Insomnia can be a pain in the neck—literally. Research shows that chronic neck pain is associated with poor sleep, which can leave you feeling groggy day after day.
And if you’re like many, you may notice your neck pain most when lying down or waking up, as if sleep is somehow a trigger for neck pain.
There are several reasons why you may experience neck pain during and after sleep. Learn how to prevent neck pain when sleeping with these tips.
Change Your Pillow
Your pillow should be a soft and comfy support for your head, but the wrong pillow can actually be a source of pain for some.
If your neck hurts when sleeping, swap out your pillow for a new one. If you sleep on your back, a thin pillow can offer just enough support for your head and neck. If you’re a side sleeper, a firm pillow is ideal.
Be sure that your spine and neck are in alignment to prevent strain and discomfort.
Stretch or Massage Before Bed
There are several causes of neck pain that happen throughout the day, but you may not notice their effects until it’s time to sleep.
If you tend to hold tension in your neck and shoulders, a simple stretch or massage before going to sleep can be enough to loosen your muscles. You can also try stretching or massaging muscles while working at a desk, after carrying heavy objects, or other times during the day when your muscles feel tense.
If a self-massage isn’t sufficient, ask a loved one to help or opt for a professional massage.
Wear a Mouth Guard
Over 10% of people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping, and you may be one of them.
And believe it or not, teeth grinding and clenching can actually cause pain in your neck. That’s because the muscles in the jaw and neck are closely connected, so what’s happening in your mouth can directly impact your neck.
A mouthguard can act as a protective pillow, preventing teeth from grinding and tight clenching.
Rethink Your Workout
Exercise strain could be hurting your neck, but you may not notice until you wake the next morning.
If you’ve recently started a new type of workout or exercise routine, try changing it up to see if your neck pain subsides.
You can also try working with a personal trainer who can check your form to ensure you’re not causing unnecessary strain on the upper body and neck muscles.
Talk to a Doctor
If chronic neck pain is a problem night after night, a doctor may have a solution.
You could be suffering from a pinched nerve, spinal issue, or another condition or injury that requires medical treatment, such as surgery. Read this helpful article on neck pain causes that can be treated with surgical intervention.
How to Prevent Neck Pain When Sleeping
You deserve a good night’s rest, but your neck pain may be getting in the way. Try these tips on preventing neck pain when sleeping to start feeling (and snoozing) better tonight.
For more advice on how to stay healthy, read our latest health, diet, and fitness articles!