Sleeping position is important. Some rules of thumb when sleeping include positioning and postural considerations. It is important to sleep on your back or sides, not on your stomach. When you sleep on your stomach, this position forces your head to be turned to the right or to the left. This causes muscles in your neck and by association your shoulders to be forced into a contracted or tightened working state when they should be resting and relaxing. In this position one also tends to sprawl their arm over their head or under their pillow which can cause nerve compression due to its improper angle. Numbness in the arm lasting for short or long periods of time can occur in addition to the tight musculature and local neck soreness created from this position. Another factor is sleeping next to an open window with a draft or with an air conditioner blowing cold air on these same muscles causing you to wake up in the morning with stiffness in the neck. A pinched nerve can sometimes result if this is severe enough.
Another consideration is pillows, size and number. When sleeping on your side, you want your pillow to fit in the imaginary space on the side of your head and on top of your shoulder when you are standing in an upright position. If you have too many pillows, or one which is too flat, your neck muscles will be tilted to one side or the other and will be forced to do work when they should be resting. The same goes for sleeping on your back. If your head is tilted too far forward, as in being propped up for watching t.v. or if it doesn’t have any support at all and is tilting back, neck stiffness and muscle tightness can result.
Dr. Kertz can be reached at 847.823.7888 or at email@example.com. His practice is located at 8062 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Niles. www.drkertz.com