Make sure the bed is stable before lying down to stretch your neck.
If you don't feel like springing out of bed first thing in the morning, gentle stretching can help transition you from sleepiness into a more energetic state. Likewise, evening stretching in bed can be a comfortable way to relax the body and prepare for sleep. Although some stretches can be performed on top of the bed, you can suspend yourself over the bed to facilitate deeper stretching. Hanging over the bed can help stretch through your neck, but be careful not to cause neck or back injury by overextending.
Stretching Out the Benefits
Stretching offers numerous benefits, so working-in a few minutes of stretching before bedtime is worth the effort. FitDay.com states that stretching increases circulation, enhances flexibility, builds your range of motion, reduces stress and alleviates low back pain. Stretching can also help improve posture and increase energy levels. Hanging over the bed can provide a variety of ways to stretch the upper and lower body, including the legs and arms -- or you can focus on the neck in particular.
Not a Pain in the Neck
Stretching your neck by hanging over the bed is fairly simple. Fit Sugar recommends lying on your back with your legs extended horizontally across the bed. Maneuver your body so that the upper back and shoulder rest along the top of the bed. Your head, neck and arms can gently release to stretch down along the side of the bed. Reach with the arms and hands to elongate through the spine, and then allow the neck to slightly elongate through the shoulders so that the head becomes heavy. This can create a slight feeling of pressure through the throat. To exit the stretch safely, tuck your chin into the chest and then use your arms to shift the body completely back onto the bed. The North Tampa Spine and Joint Center recommends holding this type of extension stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds.
The Neck's Next Steps
When stretching your neck, always move slowly to avoid injuring the neck. Boulder Therapeutics, Inc. recommends breathing deeply during the stretch. If you feel pain, discontinue the stretch to avoid injury. When lying on the bed, position your body securely so that you don't slide down, creating pressure and the potential for injury through the neck, spine and shoulders. The bed should be in a stable position; beds with wheels might not be appropriate for this stretching exercise.
Blame the Bed
To avoid future neck strain, review your bedtime habits. Sleeping with more than one pillow can cause strain through the neck. Too much reading in bed can also strain the back neck muscles if you're looking down too much. Sleeping with air conditioning or open windows can chill the neck muscles, resulting in a sore neck in the morning. Although stretching your neck by hanging over the bed can cause short-term relief, better bedtime habits can help alleviate the overall problem.