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How Proper Sleeping Posture Will Help You Sleep Better And Reduce Pain

Blog Sleep & Wellness
How Proper Sleeping Posture Will Help You Sleep Better And Reduce Pain

Do you find that you’re waking up with aches and pains in new and undiscovered places, even after a full night of sleep? This is a telltale sign that you don’t have a proper sleeping posture.

We all know sleep is essential — clocking eight hours each night delivers a heap of health and lifestyle benefits. But even if you’re sleeping eight hours, if you don’t have a proper sleeping posture, your sleeping position can be doing your body more harm than good.

Sleeping posture is how you position your body on your mattress and pillow as you rest each night. People who have injuries, neck pain, sleep apnea, or recurring back and body pain, can usually find a proper sleeping position that supports their body's natural movement in the right way.

Once you figure out the proper sleeping posture for your body — there’s still a little work to do. How’s your mattress and pillow situation? The type of mattress and pillow you lay on is the next piece of the puzzle when you're on a path towards a perfect sleeping position.

We cover the best mattress for your sleep position, how to maintain proper sleeping posture, and why it’s all so important below.

Why Is Posture So Important?

Over 65 million Americans see their doc about back pain each year. Strenuous work, hours of sitting at desks, stress, exercise, and genetics can all play a role in how good or bad your back feels. Back pain also reflects on other areas of your body, it can induce neck pain and shoulder pain as well. Correcting posture is one of the easiest ways to protect your back and spine as well as improve your sleep quality.

Proper sleeping posture and sitting posture enables better blood flow, aligns the spine, and helps keep nerves and muscles healthy. By making a habit of using correct posture, you will likely have less back and neck pain.

Best Mattress For Proper Sleeping Posture

Before we dive into the best postures for sleep, let’s talk about your mattress. You spend one-third of your life in bed, so you need to be confident that your bed is working for you, not against you.

Two of the best mattress options you have for optimal spinal support are memory foam mattresses or hybrid mattresses. Memory foam is a viscoelastic material that conforms to the body. It has a plush feel and body-adaptive properties that support the spine even as you move. A hybrid mattress combines the standout features of memory foam with a base layer of coils for extra stability and a soft bounce, which some sleepers prefer.

If you’re thinking of an upgrade, and a little nervous about which mattress to go for — don’t be. It’s super easy to find the perfect mattress when you can try it at home. We’ve got a 101-night sleep trial that guarantees your money back if you don’t get better sleep.

Once your mattress is sorted, indulge in some pillow talk. The wrong pillow can put a considerable amount of strain on the head and neck and can cause shoulder or neck pain. A memory foam pillow or bamboo pillow is the best pillow for sleeping in varying positions because it cradles the neck and can be adjusted to different heights.

Types Of Sleeping Postures

Sleeping sounds simple enough. You lay there, and the magical ways of the circadian rhythm take over. Not quite. There’s a little more to catching quality Zzz’s — and if you suffer from aches and pains, you’ll know that getting to sleep and staying asleep can be frustrating.

Even if you wake up at wild hours or struggle to stay consistent with a sleep routine, chances are you always sleep in the same sleeping position. Transitioning to a new sleeping position to adopt proper sleeping posture habits is a gradual process.

So take your time and allow your body to adjust. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling better than ever when you wake up each morning.

Here’s a breakdown of how to sleep with good posture and who it’s good for:

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back


Love sleeping like a log? The good news is that sleeping on your back uses gravity to relax muscles and joints naturally.

It’s a great sleeping position for active people who don’t have acute back pain. Sleeping on your black helps circulate blood and take the strain away from the knees. If you’re a back sleeper that wants to improve posture, you can benefit from placing a pillow under your knees to support the spine's natural curve and promote proper spinal alignment.

However, sleepers who snore should steer clear from laying flat on their back. Sleeping on your back can block airways and make it hard to breathe. If you have sleep apnea, this position isn’t ideal for you. 

Sleeping on your side

Sleeping on your side

Sleepers who prefer the extra bolster of their shoulder are in good company: according to WebMD, 63% of sleepers prefer the side sleeping position.

The side sleeping position comes in various shapes and forms. There’s the left side and right side and the fetal position where the legs curl up.

Sleeping on your side is beneficial in several ways. It’s recommended for good digestion, reducing snoring, and alleviating back pain. Keeping the head neutral is essential as it helps maintain posture while side-sleeping.

The best sleeping position for back pain is to sleep on your side with a pillow between the knees. It’s a great way to reduce lower back pain and maintain a side position throughout the night.

Sleeping on your side isn’t so good for sleepers who have shoulder pain. If this is you, take turns switching between your left side and right side or sleep on your back.

Sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping on your stomach

Stomach sleeping is the least common sleeping position. Stomach sleeping presents a range of difficulties, such as straining the neck and arms and compressing the spine. Most stomach sleepers like the caressing feeling of having the mattress press against the abdomen. Despite this, it’s not a proper sleeping posture to reduce muscle and joint pain.

Habitual stomach sleepers find it hard to make the switch. The best way to transition to proper sleeping posture is to shift to one side and place a pillow between the knees. This way, the abdomen can still feel caressed without unnecessary strain on the back.

Before you sleep tonight, pay attention to how your body instinctively relaxes on the bed. Shift around a little bit and find new ways to align your body with a proper sleeping position. Once you find the perfect way to rest your body, you’ll get better sleep quality and will wake up more energized than ever!

FAQ

What’s the best sleeping position?

The best sleeping position differs from one person to another, depending on your mattress, pillow, and if you have any type of pain like neck or shoulder pain. The healthiest sleeping position is to sleep on your back. However, if you have sleep apnea or a respiratory problem, it may promote snoring. When this is the case, it’s best to sleep on your side.

What is the right way to sleep?

Before sleeping it is important to set a calming atmosphere and make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet. Disturbances like outside noise or light can interrupt your sleep cycle and make you feel weary the next day. You also need to ensure your mattress is comfortable and contours your body while sleeping to avoid back pain.

What is the healthiest sleeping position?

Sleeping on your back is considered the healthiest sleeping position as it has many health benefits like protecting your spine, relieving pressure points, and assuring your head and body are aligned properly.

What is the correct position to sleep on a pillow?

If you sleep on your back, it is preferred to have a thin pillow that doesn’t lift your head much. However, if you’re sleeping on your side, you need a pillow that contours your head, like a memory foam pillow, and fills the gap between your neck and shoulders. If the pillow is too firm, your head will be at an awkward angle, which can lead to neck pain.

What is the best sleeping position for pregnant women?

Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on the left side and in a fetal position, as it eliminates pressure on their abdomen and is more comfortable. You should also surround yourself with soft pillows and sleep on a mattress that supports your body for extra plush comfort



Your Turn...

What's your best sleeping position? Share your thoughts in the comments. 


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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.

Certified Sleep Science Coach

Written by Monica Chinsami, Certified Sleep Science Coach

Monica is a writer who is passionate about the connection between wellness and sleep. She believes sleep has the power to unlock our greatest potential for health and happiness. Topics she's covered range from well-being, to the latest trends in sleep health and bedroom aesthetics. Monica holds a BA in Journalism from Monash University and is a Certified Sleep Science Coach.


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