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How Should I Sleep With Neck Arthritis?

Neck arthritis develops in many people who have sleep disorders. Sleep disorders and neck arthritis are interrelated. Neck arthritis is the inflammatory disease of the joints of the neck bones. It is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks its healthy joints present in the neck area. It leads to the swelling of the membranes lining the joints that result in loss of cartilage, and bones. It causes deformity of the joints leading to neck pain. It can be managed with improving sleeping positions and other habits discussed below.

How Should I Sleep With Neck Arthritis?

How Should I Sleep With Neck Arthritis?

Neck arthritis is a common entity in the medical world. It usually affects those people who have a sleep disorder. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease, sleep disturbance leads to arthritis in 10.2 million adults in the US. This study also states that people who have arthritis because of any reason are 3 times likely to develop insomnia (lack of sleep).(1)

Neck arthritis is the inflammatory condition of the joints present in the neck area. It is caused due to the attack of the immune system on the joints. It causes deformities in the bones of the neck resulting in the pain at the base of the skull. Its symptoms involve stiffness, pain, and discomfort in the neck region. It can be managed by correcting wrong sleep positions and comfortable pillows.(3)

To prevent neck arthritis, one should sleep in the following manner-

Sleep In Spinal Alignment- according to many physical therapists like Hagit Rajter, Debbie Turczan, etc, you should sleep in alignment with the spine. The head should be considered as continuity of the spine. It prevents excessive bending of the head forward, backward or sidewise.(1) One should sleep either on his back or sidewise.(2) One should sleep in his most comfortable position. If one snores at night, he should sleep sidewise.(2)

Stop Sleeping On Your Stomach- one should not sleep on the stomach. It will lead to rolling of the head to one or other side again and again throughout the night in order to breathe. Sleeping in such positions will rotate the neck for many hours that will increase neck pain in arthritis.(1) One should use pillows on either side of the body to avoid going back to stomach position. A tennis ball can be kept in the clothes to avoid turning on the stomach. It will prevent snoring too.(2)

Choose Correct Pillows- pillows play an important role to support the neck during sleep and filling the gap between the neck and the mattress. It is not beneficial to use an expansive pillow or a therapeutic pillow for neck arthritis. The selection of the pillow should be focused on the goal of comfort and its ability to fill the gap between the neck and mattress. The pillows should be able to support the distance between the neck and shoulders. It should be able to shape and reshape to allow proper fitting of the pillow in supporting way. Side pillows should be long enough that fill the space between the mattresses and ear.(1)

Prevent Neck Collapse With The Help Of A Collar- head, and spine should be in alignment during sleep. It is supported by soft collars. You should avoid collars as soft collars prevent the collapse of the neck. Soft collars reduce pain and stiffness in the morning. It is beneficial to relieve chronic neck pain.(1)


Neck arthritis and sleep disorders are interrelated with each other. It is an inflammatory disease that triggers neck pain. Sleeping in the wrong position can contribute to neck arthritis. If the sleeping position is corrected, it will help in the improvement of neck pain in neck arthritis. Sleeping sidewise or backward, avoiding sleeping on the stomach, soft pillows, side pillows, and soft collar can help in neck arthritis.


Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 16, 2019

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