Proper Sleeping Position

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                                       Proper Sleeping Position


Have you ever woken up in the morning with a stiff neck? Or even low back or shoulder pain, and said you must have slept on it wrong? You might have! Sometimes sleeping in an improper position can lead to pain symptoms that last a long time and are often severe. We spend about one third (25+ years, wow!) sleeping. So take care of yourself when your body is trying to heal and help it out with a proper sleeping position. Because you’re worth it!


The goal of the proper sleeping position is to be in a neutral position and take as much stress off the body as possible. This means you should keep a neutral spine and pelvis during rest.

Sleeping face up:

 This is the best position to sleep in if you have neck or back pain. Make sure your pillow supports your neck and gives your head room to sink in. Try to keep your arms at your side to keep stress off your shoulders. Keep your legs straight and about shoulder width apart. You can put a pillow under your legs/knees if it feels more comfortable. If you have low back pain, sciatica, or tight hamstrings a pillow under your legs may help with pain symptoms by decreasing strain on your muscles/nerves in that region.

 Side sleeping:

 This is also a good sleeping position if done correctly. If you sleep face down, side sleeping is a good transition to sleeping face up. When sleeping on your side, be sure your pillow is large enough to support your head and neck. This means it should be about the length from your shoulder to your ear. Slightly bend your legs and place a pillow in between your knees/thighs. The pillow will help keep you from turning face down and it will also help keep your pelvis in a neutral position. Try to avoid bringing your knees too far up (knee to chest). This will lead to tight psoas muscles. In this position you need to try and avoid sleeping with one leg across the other. This will lead to an unstable pelvis, and may lead to pain symptoms.



 – You will need a firm mattress that gives slightly under the pressure of your body. This will give your body the proper compensation for it’s natural curves.

– Get a firm pillow that gives you enough support in the head and neck for the position you sleep.


What to lookout for:

– Do not get an oversized pillow, or use multiple pillows. This may lead to an elevated or declined position of the neck when sleeping. This position may lead to the shortening and lengthening of the muscles, which can lead to pain and discomfort.

– Try not to sleep in a face down position. This position can put a lot of stress on your back, neck, and pelvis, along with other parts of the body.

– A mattress that is too soft or too hard can lead to an improper position of the back, neck, and pelvis when sleeping. This may also lead to pain symptoms in the long term.

– Alternate sleeping sides if you are a side sleeper. Remember that side sleeping does put pressure on the shoulder and hip you sleep on, so be sure to alternate sides.


This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.