How to Prevent Neck Pain While Sleeping

Check to see if you're making one of these ouch-inducing bedtime mistakes
Neck pain can be a real, well, pain in the neck. While some causes-like the wear and tear of aging, arthritis, or even an injury like a slipped disk-may be out of your control, many common triggers are things that you can control, like the way you're hitting the hay at night. Check out if something on the following list is causing that crick in your neck.

Your Pillow
A pillow is supposed to position your head so that it's in a healthy, neutral position. That means that your nose is in line with the center of your body, or your spine. If you use too fat of a pillow, your neck and head will be bent upwards. On the other hand, if you use too flat of a pillow, your head and neck will be bent downwards. When choosing what type of pillow to buy, consider a feather or memory foam one that molds comfortably to the shape of your neck.

Your Sleeping Position
Chances are, you figured out your preferred snoozing position years ago, and old habits die hard. But the truth is, if you're a stomach sleeper, you're not doing your neck any favors. When you sleep on your stomach, you have to twist your head and neck to the side, which can put pressure on nerves. Converting yourself to side or back sleeping may help you to wake up pain-free.

Your Muscles are Stiff/Weak
If, despite switching up your pillow and sleeping position, you still can't nix neck pain, or if your neck pain is caused by an injury or chronic condition like arthritis, consider seeing a physical therapist. Learning exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the neck may help you feel like your old self again.

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