Does How You Sleep Affect Your Back Pain?

sleep posture

We rarely think anout our spines when we are preparing for sleep.  However our sleep posture can have a bearing on whether or not we experience back pain – so remember these five simple tips for a healthier spine and back when you turn in for the night!

If you can- sleep on your back! 

The optimum position for sleeping is on your back as your weight is evenly distributed accross the widest surface of your body, ensuring correct alignment of your internal organs and minimising pressure points.

The worst position for sleeping is on your stomach as this causes your spine to arch and puts your neck in an unatural position.

If you are a side sleeper, try to alternate sides!

There has been some evidence that suggests always sleeping on the same side on an ill-fitting mattress can contribute to muscle imbalance and pain.

Habitually sleeping on one side suspends the middle of your body between your hips and shoulders, the widest parts of the trunk.  Try placing a pillow between your knees to help keep the hips, pelvis and spine aligned.

Choose a well made mattress!

To help keep your spine in a neutral position, choose a well made spring or foam mattress  – or add a foam mattress topper to your spring mattress for additional support.

How do you know the type of support you need?

Did you know that your body type dictates the type of support you need?

If your hips are wider than your waist, a softer mattress can accommodate the width of your pelvis and allows your spine to remain neutral, however if your hips and waist are in a relatively straight line, a firmer surface offers better support.

Use a pillow!

Whatever sleep position you are more comfortable with – place your pillow beneath your head and neck and not your shoulders!

If you sleep on your back, make sure the pillow fills the space between your neck and the mattress to maintain your head in a neutral position.

If you sleep on your side, use a thicker pillow and place it under your ear.

For more information on how best to sleep to prevent pain please e-mail: or


Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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