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Ideal Sleep Position

Is There an Ideal Sleep Position?


The key is to remember what you’re trying to accomplish: a position that will allow the least amount of pressure and interference in the spine and nervous system. Because you’re in a fairly stationary position while lying in bed for eight hours, the wrong position will tend to magnify existing problems and possibly create new ones.

The optimal sleeping position is on your back

The optimal sleeping position is on your back with your neck properly supported

Back Sleeping is the Optimal Choice

Sleeping on your back is ideal because if done correctly, minimal pressure is placed on the spine and joints.

Follow these guidelines to optimize your positioning:

  • Use a pillow that supports the neck, not the head!
  • Don’t use multiple pillows underneath your head as it will create an unnatural forward curvature. This forward neck tilt can produce pressure and stress on the spine and spinal cord.
  • Have at least one knee bent (or both), which helps to relax the low back and relieve the pressure in the lumbar spine.
  • Place pillows underneath the knees to decrease the stress on the spine.

Side-Sleeping: Another Effective Position

There are two basic rules to follow if you prefer to sleep on your side:

  • Use a pillow that provides good neck support, otherwise you can “kink up” your cervical spine.
  • Place a pillow between your knees. This helps to stabilize your spine and take the pressure off of the low back.

It’s a No-No: Stomach Sleeping

When you sleep on your stomach, you’re forced to completely turn your head to the left or right.

This head rotation places a tug-of-war pressure between the right and left sides of your neck, and has the potential to create shifts in your cervical spine. These unwelcome changes can contribute to the slow healing of nerves in the area with a decreased ability to function.

Optimal sleep positions not only help you to avoid future problems, but they also contribute to ideal spinal alignment. Try it and see!

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