Redwood Orthopaedic Surgery Associates | Santa Rosa, CA

How Sleeping Positions Affect Your Neck and Spine

Sleep is a wonderful time for your mind and body to recharge and renew itself for another day. However, sometimes the position you’re sleeping in can cause serious discomfort. This can be especially true if you already experience neck and spine issues. To avoid additional neck or spine pain, here are a couple recommended sleeping positions as well as sleeping positions that should be avoided to ensure you get a restful, comfortable night’s sleep.

The Good

On Your Back

This is probably your best bet for avoiding pain. Sleeping on your back helps to evenly distribute your weight throughout your body and helps avoid unnatural curves of your spine. Keeping a small pillow below your head and neck, but not your shoulders, helps to keep everything aligned. One downside to this position is it may cause some people to snore.

On Your Side with Stretched Legs

If you can’t sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side with your legs stretched. This is a great alternative to back sleeping if you are one of those who are prone to snoring. Additionally, using a thin pillow between your legs can help to align the spine, pelvis, and hips.

The Bad

On Your Side with Legs Curled Up

While not the worst position, sleeping on your side with your legs curled up does not provide the spin alignment you’d get from the aforementioned positions. It also doesn’t evenly distribute your weight throughout your body, which can lead to back pain.

On Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is possibly the worst position for avoiding neck pain. Because you can’t breathe through your pillow, your head must be forced to one side, thus twisting your neck. In addition to that, your spine isn’t aligned, and pressure is put on your joints.

Though these aren’t all the possible sleeping positions, these are among the most common. If you sleep in another position other than these and are wondering if it’s “safe” ask yourself if your head, neck, and spine are all in a neutral position. If the answer is yes, then it’s probably a good position. If you have any other questions about this or any other neck or spine pain questions, call our office at 707-544-3400.

Posted in: Spine

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