Back pain can often feel quite debilitating, interfering with sleep and for some, actually getting worse when they try to sleep. It can also be caused by laying in awkward sleeping positions and is often felt first thing in the morning, usually when moving to a standing position. This type of pain is typically the result of stiffness from long periods of decreased movement when sleeping. 

The lower back supports most of the body’s weight, which means that the time we rest while sleeping is so important. The low back plays an important role in providing both mobility and comfort whilst sleeping. If you notice back pain every morning, your sleeping posture could be an issue as sleeping in certain positions places a strain on your back, however, there are some sleeping positions that can help improve the quality of sleep that you get during the night and reduce any back pain that you may be suffering from.

Sleeping on your side with your knees bent

Lying on your side is one of the most comfortable and beneficial sleeping positions. If you are suffering from lower back pain and prefer to sleep on your side then try to do so with your knees bent. By sleeping with your knees bent, you are helping to reduce the pressure on your lumbar spine. You might also find it comfortable to put a small pillow between your knees, this helps to promote a neutral spine position.

Sleeping on your back with support under your knees

Many people find sleeping on their backs can be uncomfortable, but for some, sleeping on your back may be one of the best positions to relieve back pain. In particular sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees helps to prevent your lower back from arching too much, which can place stress on the discs and joints in your spine. 

Sleeping on your front 

Sleeping on your stomach is generally considered one of the worst sleeping positions for posture as it accentuates the curve of your lumbar spine and forces you to keep your head to one side, which twists the spine and places stress on the neck, shoulders and back.

Unfortunately, some of us may find that sleeping on your front is the most comfortable position for you, which is ultimately a bad habit. We would always advise anyone to try to change this habit as soon as possible. If however you are suffering from back pain and struggling to sleep in any other position an alternative may be to place a pillow under your hips. This helps to take pressure off of your back by relieving any stress that is placed on the space between your discs and joints. This still however does not negate the stress placed on your neck and shoulder as you stress your upper spine in a rotated position, so changing this sleeping position should be a priority as soon as possible.

For the best sleeping position during pregnancy, it is always best to consult with your midwife or therapist as situations can vary.

It is normal when sleeping to wake up and want to change the position that you were resting in. So for the best quality of sleep, always allow some flexibility with your sleeping positions and remember that good spinal alignment when sleeping also requires a mattress that supports your body weight, typically the heavier you are the firmer your mattress needs to be, supporting the body without sagging.

If you are suffering from back pain caused by poor sleep or sleeping positions, contact a chiropractor at Backworks to book an appointment for more help and advice.