Unfortunately, getting a restful sleep is not a luxury enjoyed by all. In fact, it seems that if you are someone who sleeps comfortably through the night, you are one of the lucky ones.
It is a special kind of torture to wake up expecting to be rested but instead being tired and in pain.
Aching joints can wreck our day. And if we get out of bed with a sore neck from “sleeping wrong”, there’s a chance that our range of motion is badly affected. It might even prevent us from driving or getting to work.
A sore neck happens because your muscles are placed in a position that strains them. Normally when you’re awake, your brain would say to the muscles in your body, “Hey, this hurts!” Then your body would say, “Oh ya, thanks for the notice!” And then your body would adjust itself into a position that no longer causes any pain.
When you’re sleeping, however, the state of deep sleep your brain is in means that it is not always in immediate contact with your body. So even though your neck is getting sorer throughout the night, your brain is like, “Oh sorry, I was dreaming again!”
When you finally do wake up, your neck might have been in an uncomfortable position for hours, causing inflammation in your muscles and a neck that can barely move.
So how do you make sure that doesn’t happen? That you wake up with a nice, loose neck that easily allows you to look from left to right?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Start with your pillow: the usual suspect for neck pain
Investing in the equipment we need to do the job properly is always worth it. You wouldn’t try to use a butter knife when you need a screwdriver, would you? (Of course you might, but you’d definitely be wishing the whole time we would have just spent that extra $5 on a screwdriver when we had the chance.)
In order to save our necks, it’s a good idea to spend some extra money on the right kind of supportive pillow. There are many to choose from, including high density foam that both supports and responds to the weight of your head. The correct pillow will keep your spine in a neutral position, preventing it from bending up or down; it will provide even support for your head and neck whether you are sleeping on your back or your side.
If you do find yourself with a sore neck, there are things you can do to ease your pain:
- Slowly stretch it out. Move your head left to right and up and down. Don’t rush or force it and pay attention to the edge of your pain — don’t push beyond that!
- Book a massage. If this is an option for you, see if you can get a registered massage therapist to work out some of the kinks.
- Stay hydrated. Avoid coffee and alcohol and make sure you’re drinking lots of water.
- Avoid stress. If you’re able to, take the day off work or get someone to help with life’s daily duties so that your body can heal.
- Buy a new neck-supporting pillow. Do what you can to prevent this night after night and get on getting that pillow under your head.
- Consider a new mattress. If your mattress is so old that you sink deeper into it every day, then it may be time to try a new latex mattress from Ironman.