Waking up with a sore neck is not uncommon and it is easy put it down to “You slept funny”. However, that does not really mean anything. Below we hope to outline a few things to take into consideration to help break this cycle and help you wake up feeling refreshed.
Sleep is a crucial part of our life. This is when the majority of the healing happens and our body has chance to recover from a long day.
Decreasing stress during the day can often be the key to sleeping well. Stress can be physical and psychological. To deal with emotional stress; breathing techniques, meditation, counselling are avenues always worth exploring. Modifying activity such as the amount we sit or exert ourselves. Overexertion can put the entire spine at stress including the neck and shoulders and should be addressed. The best way to target both the physical and psychological drivers of stress is gentle exercise.
Modifying our sleeping position is often easier said than done, but it is an idea worth exploring. The key is to keep the neck in a neutral position. This means using a pillow to suit the sleeping style on the back or on the side. Sleeping on the front should be avoided because it forces an aggravating amount of rotation through our spine for a long period of time.
When it comes to mattresses and pillows it varies between individuals. The wisest thing to do is to carefully assess the items in the shop and purchase them from a place that will allow returns if the items are unsatisfactory.
Eating and drinking before bed can have an influence on the quality of sleep. It is wise to avoid caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals as they may interrupt our sleep cycle.
Below are a few ways to ease tension and pain in the neck:
1. Keep moving: Make sure you do not stay in one position for too long. Doing this will cause restrictions in the tissue and it will be a painful effort to get it full range of motion back.
2. Ergonomically adjust your workspace. Use headphones or hands free features on your phone, make sure that your computer is at eye level and that your seat is high enough to keep your back in the upright position.
3. Look after your eyes. Make sure your prescription is up to date and make that you do not have to slouch to read from a book or a computer screen.
4. Use just enough pillows: Make sure that you don’t put your neck out of alignment by using too many pillows to sleep, which will put a strain on your neck, and you will wake up in pain.
5. Don’t look down at your phone. This is a difficult habit to break but it is doable. Looking down to text puts extra stress through your neck and it can be avoided by bringing the phone up to your eye level .
6. Keep your shoulders moving. Most of what we do with our hands on a daily basis is in a narrow range in front of us and before we know it, we develop a rounded shoulder posture, which puts a strain on our neck. Make sure to move your shoulders passively in all directions to ensure their mobility. This will keep them suppler and it will take an unnecessary load off our neck.