There’s nothing quite as satisfying as crawling into a comfortable bed at the end of a long day. As you curl up with your favorite pillow, though, you may find it challenging to find a cozy position. Many people struggle to find the right sleep position, especially as they age. Soon enough, they begin to experience neck pain upon waking. While sleep position can definitely play a role in neck pain, your pillow may be the real culprit. If you find yourself waking up with a sore neck some mornings, it may be time to invest in a new pillow.
Choosing the Right Pillow
To find the optimal position for your neck, look for a pillow that keeps your neck parallel to the mattress. Memory foam and latex pillows conform to the shape of your head, keeping your positioning as natural as possible. You can add props like cervical rolls or towel rolls to help beef up the pillow, too. Avoid feather or down pillows as you shop, since they’re too soft and don’t properly align your spine with your neck.
Positioning for Sleep
When your head is adequately supported by your pillow, your neck muscles can relax. This means you’ll wake up free of tension and pain. To ensure your neck muscles are disengaged completely, make sure your shoulders are on the pillow. Tuck the pillow into the crevice of your neck and then fully relax into it. Your head should be in a neutral position, without being too flexed forward or extended. If your pillow doesn’t allow your head to be in such a position, it’s time to invest in a new one.
When Neck Pain Persists
If you’re still experiencing pain upon waking, you may want to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist. A single session can help you understand the dynamics in play at bedtime and how to set yourself up for the most restful night possible. Neck pain can be quite disruptive, but you shouldn’t have to live with it!