Taking Care of Your Back, Even When You’re Asleep

Taking Care of Your Back, Even When You’re Asleep

Taking Care of Your Back, Even When You’re Asleep

Back pain can be rather intense, and treating it comes in many different forms. There are also many methods of avoiding and preventing back pain, which could reduce your need for back pain treatments in the future.

Keeping limbs and body parts limber sometimes depends on remaining flexible, moving around and not sticking in one spot for too long. Preventing back pain starts in the place you’re most likely to sit still for the longest in a given day – your own bed.

How Can Your Sleep Affect Your Back?

While there is no one “right way to sleep,” depending on the way you do sleep, there are potentially more advantageous ways and positions for you to sleep. If you’re stuck sleeping in a certain position due to a condition like sleep apnea, for example, it would be good to know the best method to not only maintain an unblocked airway, but to protect your neck while doing so.

Generally, the most beneficial sleeping positions are good for you because they will keep your spine in a neutral position, or match your spine’s natural contour. This way, the pressure on the spine is minimized, thus reducing potential pain.

Sleeping on Your Back

With an eye toward keeping the spine neutral, you’d do best to sleep on your back, with a roll under the small of your neck and a pillow beneath your knees. The extra support is good for maintaining the spine’s natural curves. 

Sleeping on Your Side

If you have sleep apnea, however, sleeping on your back may not be an option, so if your physician recommends sleeping on your side, follow their instructions to maintain an unobstructed airway. If and when you do end up sleeping on your side, it is recommended that you use a pillow under your neck to align it with your spine, as well as a pillow between your legs. The pillow between the legs helps prevent your pelvis from tilting and keeping your spine improperly aligned.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

If you do sleep on your stomach, bear in mind that this position is incredibly hard on your back, and therefore would not be recommended. If you do, your best bet at reducing the impact on your back is to put a pillow under your pelvis so it keeps your back arched as naturally as possible.


Regardless of what position you tend to sleep in, there’s a best practice for sleeping that way – and it’s mostly about keeping your spine in its most natural position while you are sleeping. It’s also smart to have a comfortable pillow that isn’t raised too high, which can strain the neck. Your mattress should be supportive, and should benefit you based on the way you sleep and your body type. For those who sleep on their side, wider hips demand a mattress with some sink, whereas narrower-hipped people will do best with a firm or a soft mattress.

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