Do you ever wake up with a stiff neck? I used to do that all the time. But now, I’m pleased to say I haven’t woken up with even a twinge of neck pain in years. The single most effective thing I did to achieve this blissful state was buy a new pillow (that’s right – it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated). But other things also helped, like getting more sleep and changing my sleeping position by a few degrees.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
The importance of sleep cannot be understated. During sleep, your body and mind are able to rest and recover from the day’s activities. Your brain is also able to process information that was learned during the day, which allows for memory consolidation and learning. In addition, your body needs time to repair itself from everyday wear-and-tear, grow muscles, detoxify itself and produce hormones that help regulate various bodily functions.
Do a few neck stretches before going to bed
- To do the neck stretches, lay flat on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Slowly start to turn your head to the right, then left and then back to center. You can also do this stretch by turning your head as far as possible in one direction before slowly bringing it back. Repeat this stretch ten times for each direction (right, left, center).
- Hold each stretch for about 15 seconds at a time and repeat three times for each side of the neck (mildly sore or stiff muscles should feel better after these exercises).
- If you have severe pain in your neck or cannot move your head enough to perform these exercises, consult with an orthopedist who may suggest stronger medication such as muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen
Try sleeping in a different position
If you wake up with a stiff neck, try sleeping in a different position.
It’s best to sleep on your back for the health of your neck. It’s also best for your back if you sleep on it from time to time, but make sure that you switch it up every few nights with side or stomach sleeping too.
Invest in a new pillow and/or mattress
The cause of stiff neck can be hard to pinpoint, but there are a few known factors that play a role in the pain. First and foremost, if you sleep on your side, this will put extra pressure on the front part of your neck. The same goes for sleeping on your back; it increases pressure on the lower part of your spine. If you’re concerned about developing stiffness and pain from these positions (and who isn’t?), consider investing in a new pillow or mattress to support your head and neck while sleeping.
Secondary causes include poor posture while sitting at work or driving in an automobile; prolonged periods spent hunched over writing or typing; injuries like whiplash sustained during car accidents; muscle spasms resulting from physical activity such as running or yoga (although these will generally go away quickly).
You don’t have to wake up with stiff neck.
You don’t have to wake up with a stiff neck.
The best way to prevent stiff neck is by laying on your back for a few minutes before going to sleep, according to the Mayo Clinic.
However, if you’re already in bed and can’t get up, try this trick: When you go to sleep, position yourself on either side with your head resting on one hand instead of pillows or other supports. You’ll be able to sleep comfortably while keeping the curvature of your spine in check!
It can be very frustrating to wake up with a stiff neck in the morning, but hopefully these tips will help you avoid it. The most important thing is to get enough sleep, which means getting into good sleeping habits that include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. If that’s not possible for you, then we suggest trying out some stretches before bedtime or investing in a new pillow and mattress that will make your neck feel better when you lay down on it. Good luck!