Sleeping positions to avoid neck pain

We all know that sleep is vital for our physical and mental health, but very few know how important sleeping positions really are. We’ve all at some point woken up with neck pain. In fact, the chance that you will encounter neck pain at some point in your lifetime is nearly 50%, with a higher incidence in middle age, and women more so than men. 

It’s true that some causes of neck pain, such as age-related wear and tear, are simply out of our control. However, there are still many habits you can get into to minimise your risk of neck pain. One simple place to start is to identify the best and worst sleeping positions, and pay attention to how you sleep and what effect this may have on neck pain. Everybody has their favourite sleeping position, however, some are better for you than others.

Back: 

Sleeping on your back is by far the best option. Although it may not always be the most comfortable option, it’s highly recommended by experts. This is because it keeps your spine and neck in a neutral position, which can be restorative for neck pain. It also ensures that no extra pressure is being placed on other parts of the body. 

Side: 

The side position is another common preference and is the next best thing after the back position. Side sleeping can help alleviate snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea. Professionals also recommend this option for pregnant women, as it is better for their blood flow. 

Fetal:

The fetal sleeping position is another common option. This approach involves the person curled up like a ball and having their arms out in front of them. This is a good option and has similar benefits to sleeping on your side. For those who sleep on their side or in the fetal position, we stock cervical contour pillows which many of our clients find comfortable and can assist with proper hip and spinal alignment.

Stomach:

This is the worst position to sleep in. Yes, it has been proven that stomach sleeping can reduce snoring and sleep apnea, however, this position can be tough on your spine because the back is arched and your neck is to the side.

At the end of the day, it is completely up to you to choose the sleep position that best suits you, but if neck pain persists, it’s important that you try to experiment with alternative positions. You can also train yourself by making sure to start the night in the position you hope to adopt. If you are in doubt or unsure of anything, you should seek the advice of your chiropractor. That’s what we’re here for! 

To book an appointment with Dr Scott please call 3482 2637 or click here to book an appointment online.

By: Dr. Scott Walton (BSc. DC) Chiropractor, Wellspring Chiropractic at North Lakes, Brisbane.