The Best Sleeping Position for Your Back Pain

The Best Sleeping Position for Your Back Pain

Written by Dreamcloud Editorial Team

Last Updated on Aug 04, 2022

In this article:

    Eight out of ten people suffer from back pain. Back pain is one of the most common health issues encountered worldwide and is also a primary reason people visit doctors. However, back pain is not a trivial matter; if it is a long-term condition, your regular life will become painstaking and highly affect your sleep. The only solution is to know the best sleeping position for lower back pain to ease it. This article explains how you can modify your sleeping posture to relieve lower back pain. 

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    How Are Sleep and Lower Back Pain Related?

    After conducting many studies, researchers have found a correlation between persistent lower back pain and sleeping problems. People often wake up during midnights due to chronic back pain and sleepless nights. On the other hand, people already suffering from sleep disorders will experience pain or are likely to start sharing their pain getting worse. 


    The reason is likely because sleep deprivation leads to impairment in healing, imbalances in mood that lead to pain sensitivity, or might also disturb the chemicals in the brain that are liable for handling the pain. All these reasons make knowing the best sleeping position for lower back pain even more necessary.

    Sleep On Your Side With a Pillow Between Your Knees

    If you are not benefiting from back or stomach sleeping positions, you might consider sleeping on your side. One of the best sleep positions for lower back pain is side sleeping. But to relieve all the agony, you must follow a certain posture for lower back pain, as explained below.

    • Allow your left or right shoulder to stay in contact with the mattress in alignment with the rest of that side of your body
    • Fix a pillow between your knees
    • If you notice a gap between your waist and the mattress then place a pillow to add support 


    The best sleeping position for lower back pain is sleeping on one side and switching it. If you continue to sleep on one side, it might lead to muscle imbalance - so keep changing sides.

    How Does This Position Help?

    Only side sleeping is not the best sleeping position for lower back pain. One best way to sleep with lower back pain is the placement of the pillows between your knees. Once the pillow is placed, it creates an alignment between the hip, pelvis, and spine.

    Sleep On Your Side in the Fetal Position

    The fetal posture for lower back pain is considered beneficial for people experiencing herniated discs. But to make this the best sleeping position for lower back pain, certain alterations are to be made.

    • Lay on your back calmly and slowly roll over to your side
    • In the next step, tuck your knees towards your chest and gradually curl your torso towards your knees
    • Remember to change your sides continuously to avert any sort of imbalance 

    How Does This Position Help?

    To understand why this position might be the best sleeping position for lower back pain, you need to understand more about discs. Discs are like tender cushions between the vertebrae in our spine. Herniation occurs when part of this disc pushes out of its regular position and that results in pain, weakness, and additional health issues. When you curl your torso into a fetal position, it opens the space between the vertebrae. 

    Sleep On Your Stomach With a Pillow Under your Abdomen

    Sleeping on your stomach might not be the best sleeping position for lower back pain, as has already been heard. You might feel that you can’t sleep on your stomach with lower back pain because it adds pressure to your neck. But, if you have been a stomach sleeper for the longest time and cannot undo it, making certain adjustments can make this one of the most comfortable positions for lower back pain. The alterations are as follows:

    • Place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to lower the pressure from your back
    • After checking how this position feels, you may or may not place a pillow under your head

    How Does This Position Help?

    The best sleeping position for lower back pain or degenerative disc disease is on the stomach but with a pillow. It will be able to ease any stress caused in the space between your discs.

    Sleep On Your Back With a Pillow Under Your Knees

    For many people, the best sleeping position for lower back pain is sleeping on the back. Though certain additions will help alleviate their back pain, like:

    • Lying flat on your back 

    • Fix a pillow under your knees and keep your spine neutral. The pillow is a necessity, it is essential in keeping that curve in your lower back. 

    • You might also place a small rolled-up towel under the small of your back for added support

    How Does This Position Help?

    Back sleeping might be beneficial and considered the best sleeping position for lower back pain. This is because the weight of the body is evenly distributed among the widest parts, and there is no tension created on the pressure points. There will also be an adequate alignment of the spine and internal organs.

    Sleep On Your Back in a Reclined Position

    Does dozing off on your recliner act as the best sleeping position for lower back pain? It might not be a very comfortable sleeping position for lower back pain, but for people undergoing isthmic spondylolisthesis, it is beneficial. As an addition to your comfort, just invest in an adjustable bed that enables you to sleep, having spine alignment and maximum support.   

    How Does This Position Help?

    Isthmic spondylolisthesis is a health condition where the vertebrae fall over the one below them. Reclining might be beneficial for your back since it constructs an angle between the thighs and trunk. The angle aids in reducing the pressure on the spine.

    Tips to Reduce Lower Back Pain

    Apart from knowing the best sleeping position for lower back pain, it is important to know certain tips to reduce lower back pain. 

    Choose Right Mattress

    Opt for a firm or medium-firm mattress made of innerspring or foam for lower back pain. Though previously it was stated that using firm orthopedic mattresses will alleviate lower back pain, recent surveys have shown that immensely firm mattresses result in inadequate sleep. 

    Choose Right Pillow

    Apart from knowing the best sleeping position for lower back pain, also select proper pillows. For back sleepers, choose thinner pillows and the ones having extra padding in the bottom that supports the neck. For stomach sleepers, the thinnest or no pillow is the best option. You can also try side sleeping with a body pillow. Side sleepers might opt for firm pillows, and not forget to place a rolled towel under the knees. 

    Exercise and Yoga 

    Exercising either during the morning or the early afternoon hours is beneficial for a healthy body. Exercising before sleeping time will result in an adrenaline rush and might result in destructive sleep. 

    Medical help

    There are certain times when you should consider seeing a doctor:

    • The lower back pain began with a specific injury
    • Pain has continued or worsened for a long time 
    • The pain is unbearable
    • Pain radiates to other parts of the body
    • Weakness or numbness in the lower body
    • Signs of infection like swelling, redness, warmth, or fever 
    • You have a personal account of cancer

    The best sleeping position for lower back pain can be the stomach sleeping with a pillow under the abdomen, fetal position, sleeping on the side with pillows between knees, or side sleeping in a reclined position - whatever suits you best. If the problem becomes worse, it is time for you to consult a doctor.

    Heading 1

    This Earth Day, and every day, we want to make a significant impact. Sustainable living is a way of life that is worth actively working toward, every day. To live as cleanly as possible by using less, wasting less, and recycling what we can is something anyone can and should do if they want to have a positive impact on the environment and to leave behind a better world for future generations.

    With a multitude of serious environmental problems affecting our planet each year, mother nature is no longer as easy to ignore or take for granted. Many people are starting to factor in environmental friendliness and sustainability when it comes to the decisions they make, which brands to support, what to eat, what to buy and how often.

    Heading 1

    This Earth Day, and every day, we want to make a significant impact. Sustainable living is a way of life that is worth actively working toward, every day. To live as cleanly as possible by using less, wasting less, and recycling what we can is something anyone can and should do if they want to have a positive impact on the environment and to leave behind a better world for future generations.

    With a multitude of serious environmental problems affecting our planet each year, mother nature is no longer as easy to ignore or take for granted. Many people are starting to factor in environmental friendliness and sustainability when it comes to the decisions they make, which brands to support, what to eat, what to buy and how often.

    This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional.
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