The Best Sleeping Positions for Your Neck
by zhengVelpeau on Aug 02, 2023
Sleeping until your hands go numb, neck pain until you can’t sleep, this is a true picture of many neck pain sufferers. Sleeping until you are in pain is a real bummer. So what is the “best sleeping posture” to protect the cervical spine?
A healthy sleeping posture should meet two key points: it can maintain the normal physiological curvature of the cervical spine and ensure that the muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues of the body are naturally relaxed.
Image Credit: SHUTTERSTOCK
一、 Wrong sleeping posture
1、Sleeping on your back
Sitting for long periods of time and sudden movement can lead to back pain, but you may not know that sleeping on your stomach can also cause back pain. Sleeping on your stomach prevents your spine from being in its natural state, your waist and back from being supported, and your neck can only be biased to one side, so sleeping on your back for one night will inevitably lead to back pain and pillowing. In the long run, it will also accelerate the aging process and affect life expectancy.
2、Pillow arm sleep
If you sleep on your arm for a long time, the blood circulation in your arm will be affected. This can lead to numbness and swelling in the arms or to shoulder and neck problems.
3、Sleeping curled up
Many people like to sleep with their whole body curled up in a ball. Unfortunately, this will lead to poor blood circulation all over the body, causing damage to the neck and back, not good for health.
二、 Correct sleeping posture
1、Herniated disc – rest your legs on the pillow
For those who have a bad waist and often feel back pain, you can put a pillow under your thighs when you sleep at night, reducing the pressure on your abdomen and back and effectively relieving back pain.
2、Frozen shoulder – rest your arm on the pillow
For those with frozen shoulders or painful shoulders, you can put two pillows under the two arms to relax the shoulder muscles and wake up in the morning without feeling sore in the shoulders.
3、People who love to snore – lie on your side
When you sleep flat on your back, your mouth tends to open, and your tongue falls back, resulting in poor ventilation and snoring. When you lie on your side, your airways will open naturally, and you will be able to relieve snoring.
4、People with gastro-oesophageal reflux – padded pillows
If you don’t have a good gut and often experience acid reflux, you can cushion your pillow slightly higher, so your oesophagus is higher than your stomach.
5、Pregnant women – lie on your left side
Lying on the left side is a good option for most pregnant women. Lying on the left side reduces the pressure of the uterus on the arteries, allowing normal blood flow in the uterine arteries and ensuring blood delivery and nutrient supply to the placenta.
Reminder: Some pregnant women may have special circumstances and must adjust their sleeping position according to their body conditions.
6、Normal people – right side + supine
For people without any physical discomfort, lying on the right side and the back are both good options. Sleeping on the right side reduces the pressure on the heart and lungs and facilitates blood flow throughout the body. Sleeping on the back does not compress the body’s various organs and makes for a better night’s sleep.
三、 comfortable sleep. The pillow is important.
A comfortable pillow can put the cervical spine, muscles, ligaments, etc., in a natural state of relaxation to achieve the purpose of rest. Pillow height, softness and hardness need to be paid attention to. When lying down, if the lowest part of the chin is facing the sky, it means that the pillow is too low; if the chin is pressed down, the pillow is too high, and the chin should be kept level to be comfortable and the correct pillow height.
When sleeping flat (supine position), the width of the pillow should be just from the head to the neck, not halfway to the shoulders and back of the head; otherwise, it will change the cervical curvature and put the neck muscles and ligaments under tension, it is best to place a small pillow under the knees.
In the supine position, the head and neck are generally placed in the moderate depression of the pillow so that the pillow pivot point is located in the middle of the back of the neck and is adapted to the curvature of the back of the neck. It is best to choose a thin pillow in the middle and high at the top and bottom and of medium height (generally one fist tall at the edges) and medium firmness to ensure that the cervical spine does not flex excessively forward or backward.
When you get up from a night of normal sleep, remember to get up in a side position with your hands on your back before getting out of bed, not sitting up straight when you are directly on your back.
2、Sleeping on your side
When sleeping on your side, double the height and put a small pillow between your knees; sleeping on your stomach is best avoided because the cervical spine will be under excessive pressure; it is recommended that people who are used to sleeping on their side should preferably have a pillow that is one times higher than lying on their back, and choose a harder pillow to fill the gap from the ear to the shoulder, i.e. the height is the width of one shoulder, and ensure that the head does not deviate from the midline of the body when lying on the side.
No matter how correct the posture is, fixed for too long is not appropriate; it must change a change, sleep to turn over, sit for a long time to stand up and move, and cervical and lumbar vertebrae can be maintained well.
For most healthy people, there is no need to be overly concerned about their sleep posture. This is because during a night’s sleep, our body is very clever, and it will always let people unconsciously change their sleeping position in order to relieve fatigue and recover their strength.