Sleeping in uncomfortable or bad positions for your neck can leave you hurting in the morning. The Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine says that neck pain is a common occurrence, though there are some things you can do to prevent neck pain from sleeping.
Proper Sleeping Position
According to Virginia Tech University's Schiffert Health Center, the proper sleeping position is on your side with a pillow under the head. This keeps your spine straight, keeping your body in alignment. In addition, keeping a pillow between your knees can help to keep the spine and neck straight. Avoid sleeping on your stomach because, according to Schiffert Health Center, this causes multiple areas of the spine to be misaligned. It is also better to not sleep on your back unless you have a special orthopedic pillow to make sure the spine is aligned properly.
According to the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine, sleeping with too many pillows can increase the stress on muscles, ligaments and facets, and lead to neck pain. Too many pillows can get your head and neck pushed higher, throwing the spine out of alignment and leading to pain. The Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine advises trying an orthopedic pillow instead to keep the spine in a proper position while you sleep. Because of their shape, orthopedic pillows ensure that the neck and spine are aligned.
Stretch and Strenghten the Neck
Stretching and strengthening the neck can improve flexibility and strength, and help with the pain. Some gyms and fitness centers have neck machines, or you can provide some light resistance with your hands. Place your hand on a side of your head and give some resistance as you push your neck against the hand. Do this on both sides of the head, as well as the front and back of the head. To stretch, rotate the head in each direction and front and back. Another variation is to look in a direction as far as you can and hold it for a count of 5 to 10. Repeat on both sides, and also look up and down.