Waking up with a stiff neck is never a pleasant way to start the morning. Thankfully, the causes of neck stiffness are often well within your control, so if this is something that happens to you often, you may need to make some minor changes to the way you sleep.
Here are some common stiff neck causes and suggested solutions.
Neck Stiffness Cause #1: You’re Sleeping in the Wrong Position
Stomach sleeping is the worst positon for your neck, as it typically means spending the entire night with your back arched and your head twisted to the side. If this is your preferred sleep position, it may be the source of your neck stiffness.
Solution: Experts recommend sleeping on your side or back to minimize neck stiffness. If you’re a lifelong stomach-sleeper it’ll be hard to adjust at first, but this simple change can make a big difference.
Neck Stiffness Cause #2: Your Pillow Doesn’t Provide the Right Support
It’s hard to find the right pillow. Pillows that are too firm and thick bend your neck upward in a rigid position. Pillows that are too soft and flat bend your neck downward and provide little to no support. To prevent neck stiffness, you need one that’s just right.
Solution: Get yourself a pillow created specifically to promote neck comfort, such as the Ortho Fiber Pillow 2.0. The built-in orthopedic neck supports help align the neck and spine naturally while you sleep.
Neck Stiffness Cause #3: You’re Not Sleeping Well
Sleep disorders and neck stiffness may not seem like they would be connected, however according to Harvard Medical School, research suggests that individuals with sleep problems are “more likely to develop chronic musculoskeletal pain.”
Solution: Pay closer attention to you sleep habits to determine whether you may have a sleep disorder. Certain sleep problems can be improved with lifestyle changes, while others require the care of a doctor.
Neck Stiffness Cause #4: You’re Dealing with an Injury or Medical Condition
Though waking up with a stiff neck usually isn’t cause for concern, there’s always the chance that your neck stiffness is a sign of something more serious. Various injuries and health problems such as arthritis can contribute to significant bodily pain and discomfort.
Solution: If your neck stiffness worsens or just won’t seem to go away, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Hopefully it’s nothing serious, but in the event that it is, you can find out what’s going on and how to treat it.