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How To Sleep After Cervical Neck Surgery

Do you need help finding the right sleeping position after cervical neck surgery? We understand how important good rest is for your recuperation and overall health. This kind of operation typically provides long-term comfort but could still necessitate a period of rehabilitation, which may involve sleep issues.

Postoperative discomfort, restricted movement, and a lack of support can disturb sleep quality following cervical neck surgery. Fortunately, there are certain strategies and methods that can help individuals achieve restful sleep-in order to encourage the healing process. This article will highlight important tips and advice to boost comfort while sleeping post-surgery, ultimately helping patients reap the most benefit from their recovery and wellbeing.

What is Cervical Neck Surgery?

Cervical neck surgery is often used to correct a variety of issues in the cervical spine, ranging from nerve compression due to herniated disks or bone spurs to treating certain cancers. It can also be useful for restoring movement and stabilizing the spine post-injury, as well as relieving pain caused by these conditions.

When deciding on the best course of action to treat a condition related to the cervical spine, there are multiple types of surgical procedures your doctor may suggest. Both minimally-invasive and traditional open surgeries are available, each with its own set of benefits. Minimally-invasive procedures involve smaller incisions, potentially shortening the recovery time. In contrast, traditional open surgeries require larger incisions and generally take longer to recover from. Your surgeon will discuss with your which approach is best tailored to your individual needs.

Before committing to neck surgery, it is important to be aware of the risks. Despite being generally secure, any kind of operation may involve issues that could arise. Therefore, it is important to discuss all the potential risks with your doctor in order for you to be able to make a well-thought-out decision on whether this procedure is suitable for you or not.

Once you have gone through cervical neck surgery, it is essential to pay attention to self-care during the healing process.

Postoperative Care: What to Expect After Surgery

Following your cervical neck surgery, it is normal to experience some discomfort. In the majority of cases, individuals will feel better within a brief period of time, whether days or weeks. To ensure a good night’s sleep, here are a few tips:

  • Sleep on your back with a pillow under your head to keep your neck in the proper position and reduce stress on any suturing.
  • Attempt to get 6-8 hours of restful sleep each night. This can help your body heal itself, as well as reduce discomfort and inflammation.
  • Prop up any pillows you need to ensure your comfort, as well as that you can breathe through your nose easily. However, refrain from using too many pillows, as that could end up putting pressure on your stomach and making it hard to breathe.
  • Before you hit the hay, verify that your drain is performing efficiently to minimize the danger of infection.
  • If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, consider talking to your doctor about the option of taking a mild pain reliever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Sleeping Arrangements: Options for a Comfortable Sleep Position

You have many choices when it comes to sleeping after cervical neck surgery. It’s essential to find a posture that won’t strain your neck while still being comfortable. Here are some possible positions:

  • After cervical neck surgery, sleeping on your back is likely the most ideal posture. It allows your head and spine to have a neutral position while taking the pressure off of your neck. To ensure comfort, you may want to consider propping yourself up with pillows, or using a body pillow for extra support.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with sleeping on your back, consider lying on your side. A pillow between your knees will help support your spine and prevent any strain to your neck. Put a small pillow under your head too, so it remains elevated and isn’t weighed down by pressure.
  • Sleeping in a reclined position is an option, such as using a recliner chair or propping yourself up with pillows. You’ll benefit from reduced pressure on your neck and added rest, but don’t go overboard – too much of it can place excessive strain on your spine.

Whatever position you choose, make sure that you are comfortable and that you are able to focus on the task at hand.

Recovery Guidelines: Strategies for Attaining Restful Sleep After Surgery

After having cervical neck surgery, you may experience some pain and discomfort. This is a natural result of your body adjusting to the changes. To help with your recovery, following guidelines to attain restful sleep is important.

To help with post-surgical aches and improve your rest, there are several steps you can take.

  • To ensure comfort and proper alignment, place pillows beneath both your head and neck, with an additional one below your knees. This will minimize any stress on your back.
  • It may take a few nights to find the ideal sleeping position, but feel free to experiment until you’ve settled on the one that best suits you.
  • Applying either ice or heat to the surgical area as instructed by your doctor can reduce swelling or soothe muscle aches.
  • Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking pain medication; start with the lowest dosage and up it only if necessary to get relief.
  • Try to steer clear of caffeine and alcohol as they can interfere with your sleep. Instead, why not give chamomile tea a try before bedtime? It’s known for calming both the body and the mind.

Environmental Changes That Help Promote Quality Sleep

It is no secret that sleep deprivation has a detrimental effect on our health. In fact, it has been favorably correlated to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Yet what is rarely talked about is how the environment we are in can influence the quality of our rest.

The environment in which you sleep matters. Many simple adjustments can make a difference in ensuring quality rest, such as:

  • Creating a conducive sleeping environment involves getting rid of any light or sound sources that may hinder your ability to rest. Consider draping blackout curtains, wearing an eye mask or using earplugs or white noise machines to ensure peace and quiet.
  • Creating a cool environment in your bedroom is ideal for encouraging restful sleep. Aim to set your thermostat around 65 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results.
  • It is recommended to abstain from caffeine and alcohol in the lead-up to bedtime, as they can affect your ability to both fall asleep and remain asleep through the night.
  • Establishing a regular sleep schedule is effective in improving your sleep quality. This is because it helps keep your body’s natural sleep and wake patterns regulated. By going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, you can significantly benefit from this habit.
  • ways to relax, such as listening to calming music, taking a warm bath or shower, writing in your journal or practicing yoga or stretching. Incorporating one of these activities into your pre-bedtime routine can help you achieve better rest.

Alternatives to Traditional Sleep Positions

Lying on your back is the most beneficial position for recuperating following cervical neck surgery. Though, should this be uncomfortable or too challenging for you to do, there are others that your doctor may suggest.

Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended since it can add more pressure to your incision and make it difficult to breathe. To alleviate some of the pain, it’s suggested to use a pillow beneath your hips when getting some shut-eye in this position.

Sleeping on your side is often more comfortable than stomach sleeping. To make the position even cozier, try placing a pillow between your legs and one under your head and neck for extra cushioning.

When lying down, it can be beneficial to prop up the head of your bed with pillows or towels. This can help to reduce any swelling and discomfort in your incision area. Doing so prior to sleeping is recommended.


Adequate rest is an integral part of the healing process after undergoing cervical neck surgery. Use these tips to ensure your sleeping arrangements are comfortable and conducive to a good night’s sleep. These measures, in combination with ongoing conversations with your doctor regarding rest, will help you to make a full recovery swiftly. Don’t underestimate its importance; sufficient sleep is key for promoting a speedy return to everyday activities.


  1. How long will I have to wear a neck collar after surgery?

Depending on the surgery, you might wear a halo for up to three months or a cervical collar for one to two months.

2. How soon can I return to work after surgery?

Most patients typically need around two weeks to be out of work, depending on the nature of their job.

3. What restrictions will I have after surgery?

You won’t be able to get behind the wheel for a minimum of two weeks after surgery. Additionally, you are likely to need assistance with fundamental activities like showering and cooking.

4. Can I exercise after surgery?

Yes, start with light exercise and as you recover, gradually amp up the intensity of your workout.

5. Are there any potential complications associated with cervical neck surgery?

Surgery entails potential risks, such as infection, profuse bleeding, and nerve damage.

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