How to sleep: The best sleeping position to avoid neck pain – expert gives advice

Dan Walker got under three hours sleep before final BBC show

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The way you sleep may actually be the cause of your neck pain, according to experts at Top Chiropractic. They have provided some tips on how to improve the way you sleep, which will in turn improve your neck pain. The experts recommend sleeping on your back, and if sleeping on your back is not possible, adopt a side sleeping position keeping the neck and spine in neutral.

They said: “We try to discourage front sleeping as sleeping on your front means that your neck is twisted for the duration of your sleep and your spine is in a compromised position.

“If sleeping on your side, your pillow should be wide enough to maintain a neutral position and not leave your head pushed up (laterally flexed) or unsupported.”

The Sleep Foundation says there are some positions that are considered healthier than others.

“Specifically, sleeping on the side or back is considered more beneficial than sleeping on the stomach. In either of these sleep positions, it’s easier to keep your spine supported and balanced, which relieves pressure on the spinal tissues and enables your muscles to relax and recover.”

The organisation says: “The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a pillow or blanket between the knees. Side sleeping can also relieve symptoms for those with neck or back pain.

“Choose a pillow with a loft, or thickness, that matches the distance between your neck and your shoulder.

“With a thicker pillow, your neck will stay aligned with your spine as you sleep on your side, preventing pain and soreness while maintaining proper alignment.”

It adds: “When sleeping on your back, aim to keep your arms in similar positions. For example, having them both lie by your sides is preferable to having one rested on your forehead, as that causes unevenness in the spine that can contribute to shoulder or neck pain.”

“Some people are naturally lighter sleepers or take longer to drop off, while some life circumstances might make it more likely for your sleep to be interrupted, like stressful events or having a new baby,” the NHS states.

If poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, you can talk to your GP.

If you have insomnia for less than three months, it is called short-term insomnia. Insomnia that lasts three months or longer is called long-term insomnia.

For most, sleep problems tend to sort themselves out within about a month, according to the NHS.

Everyone needs different amounts of sleep. On average adults need seven to nine hours, while children need nine to 13 hours. Toddlers and babies need 12 to 17 hours of sleep, every day.

The NHS says how we sleep and how much sleep we need is different for all of us and changes as we get older.

Electronic devices, including computers, televisions, smartphones, and tablets, all emit strong blue light.

When you use these devices, that blue light floods your brain, tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. 

The NHS says: “Going to bed when you feel tired and getting up at roughly the same time helps teach your body to sleep better. Try to avoid napping where possible.”

It adds if poor sleep is affecting your daily life or causing you distress, call NHS 111 or talk to your GP.

The health body also says if you feel you’re suffering from fatigue, which is an overwhelming tiredness that isn’t relieved by rest and sleep, you may have an underlying medical condition and need to speak to a GP.

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