I have had a pain in the neck for over a year. A chronic pain that interferes with my sleep and compromises my safety on the bike. Throughout the night, I toss and turn in bed trying to find a comfortable spot only to awaken stiff and soar. And, on the bike, it is difficult turning my head left and right looking for oncoming traffic.
Coincidently, this began about the time I rebuilt my commuter bike. Initially, I thought this was the cause. An improper setup. So, I adjusted my seat height, stem height and length. Then I realized, I had the same discomfort on my road bikes which are professionally fitted and have been ridden for years without discomfort. Something else was at play.
I spoke with my doctor. He suggested heat. So, for the past year, I put a heating pad on my neck in the evening before falling asleep. It helps me get to sleep but a few hours later, after an obligatory trip to the washroom, I toss from side to side throughout the remainder of the night unable to get comfortable.
The next time I saw my doctor, I mentioned my neck again. He ordered an X-ray only to discover I have cervical spondylosis. Neck arthritis. It is minor and, apparently, common for people my age. It is caused by degeneration of the joints in the neck but, unlike other forms of arthritis, is seldom debilitating.
That’s good news. Right? So, what more can I do?
The heat helps. I like sleeping on my back. I start out that way but after my first obligatory awakening, I switch from side to side tucking my pillow beneath my head and neck. I sleep, but not soundly.
Last week, I saw my doctor again. I mentioned my neck. He’s tired of listening to me by now. This time, he had another suggestion and asked “Have you ever tried a hard pillow?”. “No” I said. I have an expensive down pillow intended for back-sleepers like me. It’s “kinda soft” I said. Well, he said “Try a hard pillow. Some people find it helps with their neck.”
Last weekend, I went to Ikea (I heard they have a wide selection of pillows) and returned with a RÖLLEKA, a memory foam pillow that:
- “adapts to the way you sleep as the pillow has two heights and a special shape which follows the contours of your head and neck; and,
- gives good support and helps you to relax and sleep well because the memory foam filling responds to your body temperature and conforms to the shape of your head and neck.”
A New Life
This pillow has transformed my life. I mean it. It is the best $15 I have ever spent.
I have never slept better. Never. I get into bed, start on my back and, awaken 7-8 hours later in exactly the same position (not including the obligatory trip to the bathroom). I mean it. I don’t move. If I do, I am certainly not aware of it. More importantly, I awaken feeling refreshed and, without any neck discomfort. None!
Now, this has not cured the arthritis. But I sleep better, longer and, on my back which, as I understand, is preferable. It is a neutral position for the head and neck and, as such, is more relaxing. Sleeping on your side or stomach, on the other hand, causes premature ageing (wrinkling) and sagging of the breasts (I wouldn’t want that). This makes sense, if you think about it, as the face and breast tissue is being compressed into either the pillow or bed for long periods of time.
There was a related item on the news this morning. A recently published medical study from the University of Michigan, discovered that for each additional hour of sleep a women gets increases her possibility of having sex the next day by 14%. Surely this is the same for men.
So, it would appear, this new pillow of mine has other benefits – my breasts will be perkier and, I am more likely to have sex than ever before.
I really need to thank my doctor.