Optimise Your Sleep: Best Sleeping Positions for Back and Neck Health

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

Discover the Best Sleeping Positions for Back and Neck Health


Sleep plays a pivotal role in our overall health, especially for our back and neck. In this article, we’ll explore the best sleeping positions from a physiotherapist’s perspective, aiming to achieve a pain-free and restful night’s sleep.

best sleeping positions
What’S The Best Sleeping Positions For You?

What Are Your Body’s Needs?

The way you sleep can significantly impact your back and neck health. Choosing positions that support the natural curvature of your spine is essential.

Best Sleeping Positions for Back and Neck Health

  1. On Your Back with Knee Support: Lying on your back with a pillow under your knees helps maintain your lower back’s curve. This position evenly distributes weight and minimises pressure points.
  2. Side Sleeping with Knee Flexion: Sleeping on your side with your knees slightly bent keeps your spine elongated and reduces strain on your back.

Positions to Avoid

  • The Foetal Position: While comfortable for some, drawing knees up to the chest can over-round your spine, leading to discomfort. Interestingly, this posture is often the most comfortable as our spine ages and becomes stenotic.
  • Stomach Sleeping: This can cause neck strain due to your need to breath with your neck in full rotation. You are also at risk of lower back pain, due to sustained hyperextension, especially on a sagging mattress.

Choosing the Right Mattress and Pillow

Select a firm mattress to support your spine. If needed, a board underneath can provide additional support. Your pillow should maintain the natural curve of your neck, avoiding strain.

Rising from Bed Safely

When getting out of bed, roll onto your side and use your arms to push yourself up. This method protects your back and neck from strain.

Improving Sleep Quality

Proper alignment during sleep can reduce neck and back pain, pinched nerves, and improve sleep quality. Remember, the goal is to maintain the natural alignment of your spine.


Adopting the right sleeping position is a simple yet effective way to care for your back and neck. Experiment with these positions and consult your physiotherapist for personalised advice.

What to Do?

If you’re experiencing persistent pain or discomfort, it’s crucial to seek professional advice from your physiotherapist. They can provide tailored recommendations based on your specific needs and conditions. Visit PhysioWorks for specific advice regarding your best sleeping positions. information.

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