How to Sleep With Cervical Radiculopathy aka Neck Pain...or Worse

It’s a well known fact that sleep deprivation can cause so many problems in our lives including poor mental health, dietary problems, irritability and depression. If we have a condition like cervical radiculopathy, we might experience these problems over time and it can get us seriously down in the dumps.

Learning how we can live with the condition and also get a good night’s sleep is crucial, so we’re going to look at some tips on how we can make some changes and get some great shut-eye.

What Exactly Is Cervical Radiculopathy?

This condition, which is also known as a pinched nerve is when your neck becomes inflamed or feels damaged, and eventually separates from the spinal cord.

Due to this, the functionality of the neurological system becomes changed and you can feel numb, with different sensations and movements in the neck, arms, shoulders, fingers and hands.

You may experience this frequently or infrequently but eventually it develops and gets worse. People often say that they feel things like:

  • Tingling in their hands and fingers
  • A weak arm and weakness in their upper body
  • Loss of all feeling in their hands and arms

What Are The Causes Of Cervical Radiculopathy?

What Are The Causes Of Cervical Radiculopathy?

There are a variety of causes for this condition which include things like tumors, a herniation of the discs, muscle or neck injury, injections or degeneration from the spine. Due to the most common factor being spinal degeneration, this condition is most often experienced by older people.

When we age, our disks in our spine also age and degenerate. The result of this degeneration can make the vertebrae get closer and closer together and the body tries to fight this off by generating bone spurs, but this actually makes the condition worse by irritating and damaging the roots of the nearby nerves.

So, How Do You Sleep With Cervical Radiculopathy?

Due to our natural sleeping positions, pain in the neck and back can cause serious trouble when trying to get some sleep. You find it almost impossible to get to a comfortable sleeping position and worst of all, sleeping in a strange or unnatural position can cause further problems in your body. You may end up with more muscle pains and extreme discomfort everywhere else. So, we’ve decided to outline below some sleeping positions that may help you when living with such an uncomfortable condition.

Sleep On Your Back

Sleeping on your back is the most desired and optimal way to sleep. You can position your neck properly in this position and keep it in a stable place. An important thing to remember when sleeping on your back though is having a pillow that really helps your neck - as getting an uncomfortable one can make you wake up feeling like you’ve “slept funny”.

It’s also important to note that it is not recommended to sleep this way if you’ve been drinking alcohol or you have been vomiting frequently, due to safety risks.

Sleep On Your Side

This isn’t the best position to sleep in if you’re living with this condition, but it is better than sleeping on your front. If you choose to sleep this way, you’d be advised to purchase a tail pillow which should keep your neck and back in a fixed position and prevent nerve pains.

Sleep On Your Stomach

It is recommended that you don’t sleep on your stomach at all. It causes serious discomfort and pain because your neck and back can twist during the night.

Having said that, some people can only sleep on their stomach. If you’re one of these, consider either only using a very thin pillow or avoiding the pillow at all costs. You don’t want your neck to move positions if you can help it.

Sleep Upright

This type of sleeping position has been known to help pregnant women. It’s a highly recommended sleeping position for those suffering with pains in their back or neck. If people sleep this way, they normally have a U-shape pillow which fits around their neck and allows them to sleep comfortably.

It may take some getting used to, but this is the preferred method to sleep when you have cervical radiculopathy.

The Importance Of Getting A Good Night’s Rest

Sleep is one of the most important players in our daily functioning and our overall health. Your awake self is designed by your quality of sleep self. In essence, if you’re not getting good sleep - you’re likely not going to get a good day.

Consistent deficiency with sleep can lead to chronic health conditions, some of which can be life threatening and extremely dangerous. Being deprived of sleep for long periods of time can also cause problems which can lead to other people being harmed - such as falling asleep at the wheel, not concentrating on working (such as, as a chef, mechanic, surgeon or bus driver).

Many studies have proven that the correct amount of sleep can improve your ability to learn and help to solve problems. So, if you’re hoping to learn a musical instrument or develop some of your academic skills at a local community college - getting the best possible sleep is perhaps the only way forward.


Living with cervical radiculopathy can be very uncomfortable and bring you down in your daily life, but it doesn’t have to continue this way. It’s highly recommended that you speak with a health professional and your doctor to assess some possible methods to relieve the symptoms of your condition, whilst providing some much needed tips on how to improve your sleep - such as the tips we’ve provided above. We all need a good night’s sleep, so getting the right advice is crucial.