The City Mattress Blog

What Is the Best Way to Sleep With Neck Pain?


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We can minimize and potentially eliminate neck pain by adjusting how we sleep. The best way to sleep with neck pain is by properly combining our neck position, pillow, and a quality mattress.

The Best Positions for Sleeping With Neck Pain

Doctors recommend two main sleeping positions to relieve neck pain and back pain: on our side and on our back. By contrast, the worst sleeping position when suffering from neck pain (or wanting to avoid it) is on our stomachs. Sleeping on our stomachs arches our back and turns our neck to the side, both of which cause strain on the neck.

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Avoid using a pillow that’s too stiff or high. This will keep our neck in a flexed position all night, potentially leading to neck stiffness and pain the next morning. If we sleep on our back, place a rounded pillow beneath our neck to support its natural curve with a flatter pillow beneath our head to cushion it. We can buy special pillows with an indentation built in to support the neck while we rest our heads there. Alternatively, we can simulate this effect by tucking a neck roll into a pillowcase with a softer, flatter pillow.

If we sleep on our side, use a pillow that’s lower beneath our head than beneath our neck. This will help keep our spine straight. Whether we sleep on our back or side, consider using a feather pillow, as it conforms well to the neck’s shape. They do collapse eventually, however, so we should plan to replace them once every year approximately.

Memory foam pillows are another good option, as they, too, conform to the shape and contour of our neck and head. Makers of memory-foam pillows say they help promote proper alignment of the spine. We can find many memory foam cervical pillows.

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A firmer mattress can help support our necks while we sleep. Many leading mattress brands produce firm mattresses that can help support the back and neck, like the City Mattress’ Vinyasa 6 firm PranaSleep mattress or the Hurston Luxury firm Euro pillow top Stearns and Foster mattress. One that conforms to the contours of the body, like a Tempur Pedic mattress that can also provide neck support.

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Practicing the Best Way to Sleep With Neck Pain Makes Perfect

We may have noticed that we don’t generally wake up in the same position in which we fell asleep; this is normal, but it is no reason not to try to condition our body to sleep in a position that helps our neck. It's also important to use a gentler pillow and mattress on our necks. At least start out sleeping our desired way every night, and we could reduce the amount of time our neck spends in an undesirable, unsupported position.