What is the best sleeping position?

Good sleep is a key part of recovery but if you have ever tried to sleep with severe back or neck pain you will know just how hard it can be. Poor sleep will slow recovery and increase pain and this can quickly develop into an endless cycle of more pain and worsening sleep. 

In this article will go through the three main positions. Tips and suggestions are in the article to reduce back and neck pain at night.

wrong posture on bench.

Unfortunately, there is not a right or wrong position, but there are ways to improve it. Use pain as your guide and be prepared to switch positions regularly throughout the night in order to remain comfortable. Ideally you should anticipate it!!  

Fetal position

A pillow or support between knees can help of reduce twisting of the spine and pelvis.

A support under the trunk can help to reduce painful side bending. A small pillow of the right thickness and density can work for this purpose.

side posture wrong and correct posture.

For neck pain, make sure that your pillow is of the correct thickness and density to place your neck in a neutral position. My suggestion is to have it not too high or too low.

side posture on bed sleeping correct neck posture with pillow

On your back (supine) 

Generally, sleeping on your back should be the least problematic. Unlike sleeping on your front, your neck is in a much better and comfortable position. This will be a good choice for those experiencing neck pain.

However, it should be highlighted that this position is linked with snoring. This happens because the position will restrict the airways.

wrong posture sleeping and correct posture sleeping on back, supine

A support under your knees can help to reduce the compression of the spinal joints when laying on your back so this position can be helpful for facet joint pains or arthritic back problems.

Support under your lower back can help to prevent your lower back flexing into the mattress. This can be particularly helpful for those with disc problems.

For neck problems, use a pillow that is the right thickness and density to place your neck in a neutral position. The more rounded your mid-back, the thicker a pillow you will likely need, but a pillow that is too thick will put your head and neck in a flexed position:

neck position while sleeping on bed with high pillow

Prone (stomach sleeping)

Although this not a generally recommended long-term sleeping position for people experiencing neck pain. It can be comfortable in the short term for many people with lower back pain.

prone posture sleeping

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