What Sleeping Position Should You Be Using?

By Dr. Kevin Wafer

October 22, 2012

Without a doubt, the most common question I hear from patients is with regards to sleeping position. So, what position should you sleep in?

I’ll start with telling you which sleeping position you should avoid, and that’s your stomach.

When you lay on your stomach, your pelvis is pushed backwards, this causes the joints in your lower back to become jammed together, which can lead to lower back pain.

The other issue with sleeping on your stomach is that your face does not go directly into the pillow, you turn your head to the side. Imagine what would happen if you walked around with your head turned to the right all day. You would end up with neck pain, right? So why would you sleep in a position that forces you to do this for 6-8 hours every day?

best sleeping position

What about the side as a sleeping position?

Your side can be a good position to sleep in as long as you remember a couple of things. The most important issue for side sleepers is pillow height. If your pillow is too high, you neck is forced into an awkward position, the same is true if your pillow is too low. Both of these could lead to neck pain.

For side sleepers, you should use a pillow that keeps your head in a neutral position, your neck and shoulders should form a 90 degree angle. If you sleep on your side and suffer from lower back pain, try putting a pillow between your knees when you sleep. This will help relax the lower back.

What about the back as the best sleeping position?

Finally, sleeping on your back is the best position for your spine. The main reason for this is laying on your back offers the best support for your spine. It also helps enforce the natural curve that everyone should have in their neck. One tip for back sleepers who have issues with their lower back is sleeping with a pillow behind your knees. This helps elevate the pelvis, which as a result, helps open up joint space in your lower back.

So remember, the way you sleep affects your spine. Stay off your stomach and make sure you follow the tips above to help give your spine the support it needs while you sleep.

Dr. Kevin Wafer

About the author

Dr. Kevin Wafer was born and raised in Spring, TX. Since his mother worked as a chiropractic assistant, he spent much of his childhood in a chiropractic clinic and was adjusted for the first time at only 3 months of age. Click Here To Read Full Bio

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