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Best Sleeping Position For Neck And Shoulder Pain

by Kristin Beck
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Best Sleeping Position For Neck And Shoulder Pain

Best Sleeping Position For Neck And Shoulder Pain

“If you suffer from stiff, tight muscles, it’s likely that at least one of them will hurt when you’re trying to sleep. This can be true even if you have been doing yoga, Pilates, weight training, stretching, tai chi and other active forms of exercise regularly for years. It may also happen after an injury has healed, especially if you haven’t used that area much during waking hours. In this article we’ll talk about how to find the right position for relieving pain in these areas. We’ll look specifically at sleeping positions for relieving neck and shoulder pain, but many of the same principles apply to all parts of the body.
Sleeping Posture

Pain Relief Techniques

Finding the Best Sleeping Positions for Your Body Type

Sleep Quality Tips

1. Sleeping Posture
Whether you spend eight hours on your back or six on your stomach, there are some basic rules of good posture while you sleep. First, keep your knees bent as much as possible without locking them (as in sitting up straight with legs extended). Second, maintain a natural arch — bend only where necessary. Third, avoid crossing your arms over your chest. If you do, you’ll feel tension in the shoulders and upper chest. Instead, place each elbow comfortably against either side of your rib cage. Finally, try not to lean forward into any single part of your torso. You should always be able to see what is going on around you, so tilt your head slightly toward the opposite shoulder.
2. Pain Relief Techniques
For most people, the best sleeping positions for their necks are on their backs. There are two reasons why this works. First, lying flat on your back allows gravity to pull your head gently down, which helps relieve pressure on the spine. Second, by supporting your back, pillows help prevent slouching and excessive bending. Lying on your side provides similar relief but requires more attention to detail since you need to balance yourself carefully.
3. Finding the Best Sleeping Positions for Your Body Type
There are three types of bodies: long-limbed, wide-shouldered and square-shaped. Each type tends to favor certain sleeping positions. These variations occur naturally because bones grow differently depending upon the shape of the rest of our skeleton. To determine which sleeping position is best for your body type, take measurements of your hand, arm, leg, foot and waist. Then compare those dimensions to descriptions of ideal sleeping positions found online or in books. Here are some examples:

 

Long-limbned – Sleep on your back, placing a rolled towel under your lower back to elevate it. Use a small pillow between your knees.

Wide-shoulder’d – Lie on your side with your elbow resting on top of your forearm. Place a pillow between your knees.

Square-bodied – Lay on your back with your feet together and hands behind your ears.

Once you’ve determined your preferred sleeping position, read on for tips on finding the right pillow.
4. Sleep Quality Tips
To get the most out of your night’s sleep, invest in a high quality mattress made with gel memory foam. Memory foam conforms to your body contours and distributes evenly the weight of your body. A firm mattress holds its form while providing adequate comfort. Make sure you buy a mattress that fits your own size and preferences. You may want to consider buying several mattresses that fit different sized beds until you find the perfect one.
A well-fitting pillow is essential for comfortable sleeping. Choose one that offers support yet is soft enough to mold easily to your head. Some cushions come with removable covers that allow you to change the amount of “”give”” or thickness as needed.
5. Choosing the Right Pillow
Pillows are available in many shapes and sizes. They vary in materials such as feathers, synthetic fibers, foam rubber, latex foam, cotton and plastic mesh. Most are designed to provide firmness and support for specific areas of the body. However, no matter what material they are made of, pillows lose their ability to conform to the curves of our bodies quickly. Because of this, pillows can actually cause pain rather than alleviate it. When choosing a pillow, consider the following guidelines:

 

Choose a thick pillow. While thinner ones offer better airflow, they don’t provide sufficient support. Thick pillows hold their form longer and distribute the weight of your head and neck more efficiently.

Avoid hollow pillows. Hollow pillows create a gap between the top edge of the pillowcase and the surface underneath. Air escapes through this space, causing irritation and dry skin.

Select a pillow shaped to match your head. Select a pillow whose width matches your head circumference. Don’t choose a pillow that is too narrow. Otherwise, the sides will dig painfully into your skull. Avoid large, round pillows. Instead, select medium-sized, oval ones.

Consider your bedmate. If you share your bed with someone who snores loudly, opt for a feather filled pillow. Feathers are less compact than synthetic fillings and they absorb sound. Also, be aware that pillows can shift during the night. Before purchasing one, test it on your bed partner to check whether it shifts. If the pillow moves significantly, return it for exchange or refund.

6. How Often Do I Replace My Pillow?
Most people replace their pillows every few months. But if you find yours uncomfortable, you might want to change it sooner. One way to tell if your pillow needs replacing is if it feels lumpy when you lie on it. This means that the stuffing inside has lost its loft. Another sign of weariness is sagging. As a pillow ages, it loses its ability to retain air bubbles.
How often do you toss and turn before falling asleep? If you wake frequently throughout the night, you probably need a new pillow. Poorly fitting pillows encourage poor posture, which increases stress on the spinal column. Good sleeping positions require proper alignment of the cervical vertebrae. Changing position disrupts the natural curve of the spine and causes unnecessary strain.
7. Why Is It So Hard to Fall Asleep?
Sleep hygiene refers to behaviors that promote healthy sleep patterns. Many factors contribute to insomnia. Psychological issues like anxiety, depression, fatigue, caffeine intake, alcohol consumption, nicotine withdrawal and medication side effects can affect your ability to fall asleep. Other physical problems include chronic diseases and medical conditions, dehydration, diet deficiencies and environmental toxins.
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans. People who experience mild cases stop breathing sometimes for short periods during the night. This can cause severe disruptions in sleep cycles. Snoring is another common problem. Those suffering from sleep apnea are usually sleepy during the day but awake at night.
8. What Happens During An Awakened State?
During the REM stage of sleep, brain waves slow down dramatically and electrical activity drops to less than 10 millivolts. Brain function slows down to a crawl and heart rate decreases. Breathing becomes shallow and rhythmic, and muscle tone diminishes. At times, people who awaken suddenly report feeling dazed and confused, particularly in the early morning hours.
When you first wake up in the mornings, you may notice stiffness and soreness in your muscles. As soon as you begin moving around, however, these aches disappear within minutes. After exercising regularly, your body adjusts to your routine and your muscles gradually become stronger.
9. Does Exercise Help With Insomnia?
Exercising regularly improves sleep quality and reduces daytime tiredness. Exercises that increase blood circulation help improve blood flow to the brain and relaxes tense muscles. Yoga, tai chi and meditation exercises can also help induce relaxation and calm the mind.
10. What Foods Can I Eat Before Bedtime?
Before you go to bed, eat foods rich in magnesium, calcium and vitamin B6. Magnesium promotes normal nerve transmission and aids in relaxing muscles. Calcium strengthens teeth and bone structure. Vitamin B6 assists in protein synthesis and cell growth. Eating foods rich in these nutrients can help ensure a full, uninterrupted sleep cycle.
11. What Foods Can I Consume Late At Night?
Late night snacks tend to be fatty or sugary. Starchy carbohydrates like bread and pasta are better choices. Complex carbohydrates break down slowly into glucose, allowing you to consume larger quantities without raising insulin levels excessively. Bananas contain potassium, which regulates fluid levels and prevents muscle cramps.
12. What Foods Are Best Not To Consume Before Bedtime?
Alcohol, cigarettes and caffeinated beverages impair the effectiveness of sleep medications. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, making it harder to fall asleep. Alcohol dehydrates the body and leaves you feeling groggy. Stimulants like coffee, tea and cola dehydrate the body and can leave you feeling irritable. Cigarettes irritate mucus membranes, leaving the mouth dry and increasing coughing spells. Nicotine constricts nasal passages, reducing oxygen supply to the lungs.”

 

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