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What is the healthiest position to sleep?

By Dr. Phil Bechard, DC

An often asked question in our office is what sleeping position is best? A simple question, but a greatly varied answer! The best sleeping position can vary from person to person, as individual comfort and health conditions play a role. However, some general guidelines can help you find a sleeping position that promotes good spinal alignment and reduces the risk of discomfort or pain:

  • Back Sleeping:

  • This position is the most recommended as it helps maintain a neutral spine alignment.

  • Place a pillow under your head and another under your knees to support the natural curve of your spine. For most, the head pillow should promote some small lift in the curve of the neck, with a drop for the head. 

  • It may help reduce the risk of developing back or neck pain.

  • Side Sleeping:

  • If you're a side sleeper, draw your legs slightly toward your chest and place a pillow between your knees to align your spine.

  • Use a supportive pillow that maintains the neutral position of the neck and head. This is usually a thicker pillow that a back or stomach sleeper would desire. 

  • This position can be beneficial for people with snoring issues or mild sleep apnea.

  • Stomach Sleeping:

  • While stomach sleeping can be comfortable for some, it usually leads to neck and back pain for most in the long run..

  • If you prefer this position, use a thin pillow or none at all to minimize strain on your neck.

  • Consider trying other positions if you experience discomfort.

  • Avoid Twisting or Curling:

  • Try to avoid sleeping in a twisted or curled-up position, as this can strain your spine and lead to discomfort.

  • Maintain a straight and neutral alignment from head to toe.

Remember that personal comfort plays a significant role in choosing the best sleeping position. If you’re having specific problems with your sleep, in particular pain getting to bed, pain waking up, or pain when moving in bed, we would advise making an appointment in our office and getting back on the right track!


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