Pillow For Back Pain
- 1 How should I sleep if my lower back hurts?
- 2 Is sleeping without a pillow better for back pain?
- 3 Can the wrong pillow cause back ache?
- 4 How do I know if my pillow is too high or too low?
- 5 Is it good to sleep without a bra on?
- 6 What is the most comfortable sleeping position for back pain?
Is a higher pillow better for back pain?
How to choose the best pillow for your lower back pain – The best indicator that you have the right pillow for your back is, of course, going to be your comfort and restful sleep. However, there are a few key questions to ask yourself when evaluating a new pillow:
- Does the pillow fit comfortably between your neck and shoulder? If you feel like the pillow is bending your neck too far in one direction? If so, then it could cause stiffness, pain, and spinal misalignment from your head down to your low back.
- Is the pillow too firm or soft? The density, or in other words, the firmness or softness of your pillow is crucial for supporting your head in a rested position. Soft pillows tend to sink lower and conform to your head shape. Whilst harder pillows maintain their original shape and height.
- Is your pillow too tall or short? You’ll need to explore what feels best in terms of how thin or thick your pillow is, which again contributes to providing just the right support for your unique body shape and spine. Your preferred sleeping position plays a role in determining the best heat for you. Those who sleep on their backs may prefer a lower pillow while side-sleepers may consider taller pillows. Keeping a symmetrical position while sleeping can help prevent imbalances that lead to lower back pain.
- Do you run hot or cold when you sleep? Check how your pillow rates for breathability before you buy. If you know that you tend to “run hot,” then it’s worth finding a pillow that’s got excellent airflow, or even a pillow with special cooling gel.
- What’s your preferred sleep position? How thick a pillow you’ll need will usually be determined by the position you sleep in the most. For example, if you’re a side sleeper, you’re probably going to require a thicker pillow with moderate density to get the proper support. On the other hand, if you sleep on your stomach, a thinner pillow may be the best way to achieve alignment. Or, if you’re a back sleeper, a moderately thick pillow will probably provide the best fit.
- Does your retailer have an online tool you can use? Many e-commerce stores now offer an online assessment tool or quiz to help you identify the proper pillow. Usually, they analyze the amount of support you require and which position you typically like to sleep in. There may also be additional customization options available, depending on the store. However, the best option would be to try your pillow in-store.
How should I sleep if my lower back hurts?
How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain |Sleep Foundation The lower back features an interwoven series of structures National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) NINDS aims to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease.
It includes the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, each of which is bolstered by shock-absorbing discs and held in place by ligaments. Surrounding muscles offer support and are connected to the spine by tendons. Nerves run through the spinal column to deliver signals throughout the body. The lower back supports most of the body’s weight Medline Plus MedlinePlus is an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.
and is integral to all kinds of movements. Whether standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, the lower back plays a role in mobility and comfort. Given the complexity of the lower back and how much we depend on it, it comes as no surprise that it is a leading hotspot for pain.
- Eight out of 10 people Medline Plus MedlinePlus is an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends.
- Have back pain at some point during their life, and lower back pain is one of the top reasons why people see a doctor.
- Back pain can range from mild to severe, and it may be short-lived or long-lasting.
When serious, it can be debilitating and interfere with nearly all aspects of daily life, including sleep. Pain and sleep have a complex relationship. Pain can disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can make it more likely that a person will experience pain. In addition, a sleeping position or mattress that doesn’t support the lumbar spine can induce or exacerbate,
- Acute lower back pain is short-term, lasting for just a few days up to a few weeks. It is often connected to an identifiable event or injury. When acute back pain fades, there is no ongoing effect on mobility.
- Chronic lower back pain Medline Plus MedlinePlus is an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends. goes on for three months or longer. In many cases, it occurs without a clear link to an initial injury.
Lower back pain that starts as acute may become chronic. It is estimated that around 20% of cases of acute low back pain persist and become chronic. Researchers have long seen an association between lower back pain and sleeping problems, and growing evidence points a two-way relationship National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- In which they can be mutually reinforcing.
- Discomfort from pain can be a major barrier to sleep.
- Lower back pain makes it hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep or may provoke nighttime awakenings when pain surges.
- At the same time, people with sleep problems are more likely to start having pain or to have pain get worse National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
Experts aren’t certain why this happens, but there are several potential explanations. Sleep deprivation may impair healing, affect mood in a way that heightens pain sensitivity, or disrupt chemicals in the brain that are involved in how we experience pain. Another link between sleep and lower back pain is tied to how sleeping position affects spinal alignment. Although posture is typically associated with sitting and standing, it’s also critical when lying down. A sleeping position that involves twisting, contorting, or otherwise putting pressure on the lumbar spine can cause pain and stiffness.
- This pain is often worse in the morning but may persist throughout the day.
- The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a partial bend in the knees FamilyDoctor.org Familydoctor.org is the public-oriented website created by the American Association of Family Physicians (AAFP) that features physician-reviewed patient education materials.
Keeping the knees bent helps balance the body and reduces pressure on the lumbar spine. Many people find it helpful to put a small pillow between their knees to make this position more comfortable. Unfortunately, many back and stomach sleepers have a hard time changing their sleeping position.
- Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees, legs, and/or lower back to support the natural curve of the spine and minimize lumbar pressure.
- Stomach sleepers should opt for only a thin pillow under their head and place a more supportive pillow under their hips and abdomen. This works to prevent the lower back from sinking into a U-shape that pulls the spine out of alignment.
Some people with back pain use an adjustable bed that makes it easy to raise the upper or lower part of the mattress in a way that decreases tension in the lower back. Because it is a principal means of supporting the body during sleep, can play an important role in preventing or reducing lower back pain.
- Proper spinal alignment demands a mattress that is in good condition and doesn’t sag excessively.
- Research supports using a medium-firm mattress National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
to combat lower back pain National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information., although the most appropriate firmness can vary based on a person’s weight, body shape, sleeping position, and individual comfort preferences. Getting quality sleep is an important part of recovering from lower back pain, but sleeping well may seem like a tall task when your back hurts. While there’s no guaranteed way to get better sleep, certain practical tips can help:
- Find a supportive sleeping position. Ideally, you can, but regardless of the position, make sure your spine is well-aligned. If needed, use extra pillows for body support.
- Be careful with alcohol and caffeine. Though alcohol may help you doze off, it can throw off the quality of your sleep. As a stimulant, caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Try relaxation methods. Finding techniques to wind down can put you in the right state of mind for sleep with less focus on pain.
- Reduce potential sleep disruptions. If you inadvertently wake up at night, pain may make it harder to get back to sleep. For that reason, try to eliminate excess noise and light from your bedroom or block them out with a sleep mask or earplugs. Set your bedroom to a temperature that will be comfortable throughout the night.
Focusing on can improve your sleep habits so that you can sleep better both during and after episodes of lower back pain. Back pain is common and often recedes quickly, but it’s important to talk with a doctor if:
- The pain began with a specific injury
- Pain continues or worsens for more than a few days
- Pain is debilitating
- Pain radiates to the legs or other parts of the body
- You experience weakness or numbness in your lower body
- There are signs of infection like redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
- You have a personal history of cancer
- You have other unexplained health changes like weight loss or urinary problems
A doctor can review your symptoms and determine the appropriate next steps for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. (2020, April 27). Low back pain fact sheet. NINDS., Retrieved September 20, 2020, from
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (2018, March 20). Low back pain – acute.
- MedlinePlus: National Library of Medicine (US). (2016, October 21). Back Pain.
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (2019 May 13). Low back pain – chronic.
- Marty, M., Rozenberg, S., Duplan, B., Thomas, P., Duquesnoy, B., Allaert, F., & Section Rachis de la Société Française de Rhumatologie (2008). Quality of sleep in patients with chronic low back pain: a case-control study. European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society, 17(6), 839–844.
- Finan, P.H., Goodin, B.R., & Smith, M.T. (2013). The association of sleep and pain: an update and a path forward. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society, 14(12), 1539–1552.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. (2020, January 17). Low Back Pain.
- Jacobson, B.H., Boolani, A., Dunklee, G., Shepardson, A., & Acharya, H. (2010). Effect of prescribed sleep surfaces on back pain and sleep quality in patients diagnosed with low back and shoulder pain. Applied Ergonomics, 42(1), 91–97.
- Ancuelle, V., Zamudio, R., Mendiola, A., Guillen, D., Ortiz, P.J., Tello, T., & Vizcarra, D. (2015). Effects of an adapted mattress in musculoskeletal pain and sleep quality in institutionalized elders. Sleep science (Sao Paulo, Brazil), 8(3), 115–120.
: How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain |Sleep Foundation
Is sleeping without a pillow better for back pain?
Designed to promote healthy alignment of the head, neck, and spine, most people consider pillows to be an essential part of their sleep routine. However, some people claim that sleeping without a pillow may prevent wrinkles, improve hair texture, and even cure neck pain.
While research is still limited, some studies suggest that sleeping without a pillow does have its merits. Before you eliminate the pillow from your sleep routine, it’s important to note that not everyone benefits from sleeping without a pillow. Certain positions are better suited to pillowless sleep than others, and it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before making major changes to your sleep setup.
We’ll discuss who stands to gain the most advantages from sleeping without a pillow, and share advice for transitioning to a flat surface when appropriate. Customize Your Comfort Our fully personalized shredded memory foam pillow perfectly blends support and pressure relief. Shop Now While research is limited, anecdotal reports show that sleeping without a pillow can help reduce neck and back pain for some sleepers. Stomach sleepers are generally best suited for going pillowless, because the lower angle of the neck encourages better spinal alignment in this position.
Is it OK to not sleep with a pillow?
Neck pain – Similarly, the link between sleeping without a pillow and neck pain has major caveats. If you’re a stomach sleeper, ditching the pillow can help your neck stay in a more natural position. But it doesn’t eliminate the need to turn your head.
- This can strain your neck joints and muscles, causing pain.
- For other sleeping positions, skipping the pillow can worsen or cause neck pain.
- That’s because sleeping on your back or side overextends your neck.
- Without a pillow, your neck will stay in this position all night.
- Plus, if you don’t use a pillow, the pressure on your neck muscles will be unevenly distributed.
You’ll be more likely to experience neck pain, stiffness, and headaches. If you’ve always slept with a pillow, it’ll take time to get used to sleeping without one. Consider these tips if you’d like to try pillowless sleeping:
Gradually reduce your head support. Instead of immediately removing your pillow, start with a folded blanket or towel. Unfold the towel over time until you’re ready to sleep without one. Support the rest of your body with pillows. When sleeping on your stomach, put a pillow under your stomach and pelvis to help your spine stay neutral. Place a pillow under your knees when you’re on your back or in between your knees when you’re on your side. Choose the right mattress. Without a pillow, it’s even more important to have a mattress with enough support. A mattress that’s too soft will let your spine sag, resulting in back pain.
Although sleeping without a pillow may help stomach sleepers, specific research is lacking. It’s generally recommended to use a pillow if you sleep on your back or side. However, what’s most important is that you feel comfortable and pain-free in bed. If you have neck or back pain, or if you have spine condition like scoliosis, sleeping without a pillow may be unsafe.
Is pillow top or memory foam better for back pain?
Is A Pillow Top Mattress Good or Bad For Your Back? – In a word — yes! Pillow top mattresses are designed for full-body support. However, some of theses mattresses are better for your back than others. The distinguishing quality of a pillow top mattress is its extra layer of padding stitched into the top.
Can the wrong pillow cause back ache?
The Wrong Pillow Can Cause Discomfort – The wrong pillow can intensify headaches, neck and back pain, shoulder and arm numbness, discomfort, sneezing, and wheezing. Therefore it is important to know how your pillow can affect these things, The pillow itself won’t be the cause of any of these problems, but a bad one can exacerbate many of the underlying symptoms.
Experts believe people with sleep problems, which can be caused by using the wrong pillow, experience more problems with back pain, Ohio spine specialist Santhosh Thomas says, “Sleep deprivation is known to affect mood and functional ability and negatively impacts the perception of pain.” It can be difficult to part with your favourite pillow but it’s important to find the right pillow for your sleep needs, including your preferred sleeping position.
Each sleeping position puts strain on your spine in a different way. The goal of using a pillow is to help keep your head in what is called a ‘neutral alignment’ – meaning your head is sitting squarely on your shoulders without bending back too far or reaching too far forward.
What happens if your pillow is too high?
5. Breathing and Digestive Problems – Many people require the right pillow for addressing underlying health issues. Sleep apnea is a breathing condition where the person experiences repeated interruptions in their breathing throughout the night. Certain pillows can aggravate this condition because they don’t support the head at a proper angle to prevent airway blockages between the throat and palate.
- People with acid reflux disease experience a weakening of the muscle between the throat and stomach, causing acid to back up into the throat and mouth.
- Acid reflux causes a painful burning sensation that significantly disrupts sleep quality.
- Pillows that are too thin don’t elevate the head and neck high enough to prevent the acid backwash from reaching the chest and throat.
People who suffer from either sleep apnea or acid reflux should consider getting fitted for the right pillow to help manage these symptoms.
What is the most comfortable sleeping position for back pain?
Best Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain According to the Experts – The best sleeping position to reduce pain and avoid injury is on your side, according to research. If you sleep on your back or stomach the risk of developing back pain increases by 23 percent.
Why does my lower back hurt so much when I sleep?
Unsupportive Sleep Position – If you feel lower back pain every morning after sleeping, your sleep position could be at fault. Sleeping in an unsupportive position can increase pressure on your spine and lead to back pain. When you sleep on your stomach, you are more likely to twist your neck out of alignment with the rest of your spine.
- Depending on the firmness of your mattress, your lower abdomen may also sink more deeply than the rest of your spine, uncomfortably stretching your back out of alignment.
- Either way, this sleep position could put you at a higher risk of lower back pain upon waking up.
- To prevent this misalignment, it may help to try sleeping on your stomach without a head pillow, and by placing a thin pillow beneath your lower abdomen.
Back sleeping makes it easier to keep your spine straight, but can still lead to back pain if you do not support your spine’s natural curvature. One study found this sleep position actually doubles your risk of lower back pain. To lower your risk and prevent discomfort, consider placing a pillow beneath your knees.
How do I know if my pillow is too high or too low?
How to Make Sure That Your Pillow is The Right Size For You When selecting the ideal type of pillow the thickness of the pillow is kingand the right size for you is dependent upon your size and the softness or hardness of your bed. The softer the mattress (or pillow top) the more your shoulders will sink into the mattress so you will need a thinner pillow.
- We choose to have them available at Be Healthy Chiropractic because they can be adjusted to 4 different thicknesses to cater for most body types and mattresses and they are contoured to hold your neck and head in a balanced alignment while you sleep on your side.
- STEP 1) Determine If An Adjustable Memory Foam Pillow For You
- Before you try this pillow you need to first decide if you need to have a pillow like this because not everyone needs a pillow like this
If you sleep on your stomach (which is the ideal sleeping posture) you do not need this type of pillow. Any type of pillow is suitable for you. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to have a pillow if you sleep on your stomach. You just choose whatever you like for comfort.
- If you sleep on your side or you sleep in all sorts of positions, then this pillow is for you.
- STEP 2) Choose the ideal degree of firmness in the pillow
- If you are of a heavier build and like the pillow to have a sturdier/harder feeling of support then choose the “charcoal firmer feel” pillow
If you are of a slighter build choose the “regular feel” pillow. Probably 3 out of 4 find the regular feel the most appropriate for them. 3/4 people choose the “normal” feel over the “firmer” feel
- STEP 3) Take Your Adjustable Pillow Home and Discover The Ideal Thickness to Use
- a) Take a Selfie in Bed
- Take the pillow out of its carry bag, grab your mobile phone and lie on your bed on your side in your typical sleeping posture.
- Staying in your normal sleeping posture take a “selfie”.
- Your selfie photo will help you determine if the pillow is the right thickness for you.
b) Analysing Your Selfie You need to look at two different landmarks on your body. The notch just underneath your nose (where Charlie Chaplin’s moustache was) called the philtrum and the notch above the top of your sternum where your collarbones join your sternum called the suprasternal notch. The notch under the nose is called the philtrum. The notch above the sternum is called the suprasternal notch. These two areas should be level when lying on your side. If the philtrum is lying higher than the suprasternal notch then your pillow is too high. The pillow is too high If the philtrum is lying lower than the suprasternal notch then your pillow is too low. The pillow is too low If these two landmarks are level in the selfie then your pillow thickness is just right for you in your bed. AhhhJust right. c) Adjust the Pillow Size Until the Two “Notches” Are Level The two contours of the pillow are of slightly different thicknesses so use whatever size contour that holds you level. You also have the option to undo the zip at the bottom of the pillow to take out the 2cm removable layer if you have a slighter frame or a softer bed.
What is the healthiest sleeping position?
What Are the Best Positions for Sleeping? During sleep, your body works to restore and repair itself National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- Your sleep position can either help or hinder that process, depending on how effectively it supports the natural curvature of your spine.
- It’s also common for people to wake up with brand new aches and pains in the morning, sometimes due to sleep position.
- We spend a third of our lives National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
asleep or resting, so it’s important to choose a sleep position that assists your body with physical recovery. A proper sleep position can relieve stress on your spine, while an unhealthy position can increase pain or stiffness in the back, arms, or shoulders, all while contributing to lower-quality sleep National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- The best sleep position is one that promotes healthy spinal alignment from your hips all the way to your head.
- What that looks like for you depends on your personal health situation and what you find comfortable.
- Having said that, there are some positions that are considered healthier than others.
- Specifically, sleeping on the side or back is considered more beneficial than sleeping on the stomach.
In either of these sleep positions, it’s easier to keep your spine supported and balanced, which relieves pressure on the spinal tissues and enables your muscles to relax and recover. However, if sleeping on your stomach feels good to you, don’t feel forced to change it.
- You can minimize your risk of pain and improve spinal alignment with the right mattress and pillow.
- Different sleep positions provide different benefits that may be helpful for you if you’re dealing with back pain, pregnancy, allergies, acid reflux, or another health condition.
- In these cases, it may be worth trying a new sleep position to enable more restful sleep.
In one study, a group of adults with back pain were trained to sleep on their back or their side. They experienced significant pain relief in just four weeks. Adjusting to a new sleep position takes time, but it is possible. Be patient with yourself and use pillows to help train your body to the new position.
More than 60% of people sleep on their side, with men spending more time on their sides National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. each night than women. As children, we split our nights by sleeping in all positions equally, but by adulthood, a clear preference for emerges.
The flexibility of our spine decreases as we age, which may make the more comfortable for older adults. Sleeping on your side offers several benefits. It promotes healthy spinal alignment and is the sleep position least likely to result in back pain, especially when supported with pillows.
- Side sleeping also may reduce heartburn National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- And snoring National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
, making it a better sleeping position for people with or acid reflux. Side sleeping may be particularly beneficial for:
- Pregnant women
- People with acid reflux
- People with back pain
- People who snore or have sleep apnea
- Older people
Experts recommend that sleep on their side with the knees bent Medline Plus MedlinePlus is an online health information resource for patients and their families and friends. The side sleeping position relieves the pressure of a growing belly, enabling the heart to pump and blood to flow easily throughout the body.
In particular, the left side is recommended because it prevents pressure on the liver and facilitates healthy blood flow to the fetus, uterus, kidneys, and heart. If you feel discomfort sleeping on your left side during pregnancy, you can switch to the right side now and then to relieve pressure on the left hip.
You can also relieve tension by placing pillows under the belly, between the legs, and at the small of the back. The best sleeping position for is on your side with a pillow or blanket between the knees. Side sleeping can also relieve symptoms for those with neck or,
- People with shoulder pain
- People worried about wrinkles
Side sleeping can lead to soreness or tightness in your shoulders National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
, so it’s good to shift positions occasionally and use the most appropriate pillow and mattress. Ensure your mattress has enough “give” to allow your hips and shoulders to sink in deeper than your middle spine. Side sleeping can also contribute to facial wrinkles National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
, since your face is pressed against the pillow, stretching and compressing the skin. If you’re already a side sleeper and want to go for that gold star, opt to sleep on your left instead of your right side. Sleeping on the right may increase pressure on your internal organs, which is why experts recommend the left for pregnant women and sleepers with acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Lying on the back is the second most popular sleep position, with plenty of benefits to rival the side sleeping position. When you’re flat on your back, it’s easy to keep your spine in alignment and to evenly distribute your body weight, preventing any potential aches in the neck or back.
- People with lumbar spinal pain
- People worried about wrinkles
- People with neck pain
- People with nasal congestion
Lying on the back is the best sleep position for neck pain, as it prevents the misalignment that can occur in the side or stomach positions. To prevent neck pain, use a pillow that supports the neck while letting your head sink deeper. Memory foam pillows or pillows with a divot for the head are good options.
Alternately, you can roll a towel underneath your neck and use a flatter pillow for your head. When sleeping on your back, aim to keep your arms in similar positions. For example, having them both lie by your sides is preferable to having one rested on your forehead, as that causes unevenness in the spine that can contribute to shoulder or neck pain.
Best Pillows for Back Pain – Our Top 7 Picks!
If you’re coping with allergies or a stuffy nose, use pillows to prop up your upper back so you’re in more of an upright position, without collapsing the spine. This positioning can enable your airways to stay open and may help drain your nose. Avoid lying flat on your back, as that may increase nasal congestion National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
- Pregnant women
- People who snore or have sleep apnea
- People with some types of back pain
- People with GERD or acid reflux
- Heavier adults
- Older adults
Back sleeping is the worst sleeping position for people with snoring and because it leaves you susceptible to airway collapse. More than half of people have position-dependent sleep apnea, meaning that the severity of their symptoms increases when they lie on their back.
Also, while some people feel relief from the back sleeping position, others find it increases their back pain. Depending on the firmness of your mattress, a small gap can form between your lower back and the mattress surface, which can lead to uncomfortable tension in the lower back. You can resolve this by placing a thin pillow in that area, or placing a pillow under your knees instead.
Either way, you’ll relieve pressure while supporting the natural curvature of your spine. You can also switch between back and side sleeping throughout the night. The back sleeping position is not recommended for pregnant women because a growing baby can add pressure on the heart and make it difficult for blood to flow easily.
Theoretical postulation may suggest National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. that sleeping on the back during the third trimester can increase the risk of stillbirth, though conclusive evidence is lacking.
Individuals with acid reflux or GERD should also avoid sleeping on the back. GERD episodes become more frequent in this position, and can start as soon as one minute after switching to lie on the back. Finally, as we grow older or heavier, it becomes harder to breathe while lying on our backs, due to the pressure of gravity on the body.
Switching to a side sleeping position can be a better option for heavier and older individuals. The stomach is the least popular sleep position. Research suggests we spend less than 10% of our night sleeping in this position. does have some benefits, however. Namely, the position can help relieve snoring, by opening up your airway.
However, your ribs do have to work against gravity in order to breathe in this position, which may force you to use more energy and thereby make your sleep less restful. The stomach sleeping position comes with several drawbacks and is not recommended for most people.
- Pregnant women
- People with neck or back pain
- People worried about wrinkles
The stomach position provides the least back support of all sleeping positions and increases pressure on the spine, sometimes causing pain upon waking up. In order to sleep on your stomach, you must sleep with your head facing one side, invariably twisting your neck and head out of alignment with the rest of your spine.
- If your mattress isn’t firm enough, your stomach and hips will sink into the mattress, uncomfortably stretching your spine out of alignment.
- This kind of asymmetrical sleep posture can negatively impact your spine over time.
- Also, sleeping on the stomach can contribute to facial wrinkles, since your face is pressed against the pillow or the surface of the mattress.
Without the right pillow and mattress, it’s easy for the stomach sleeping position to cause aches and pains. However, it is possible to sleep well in this position. If you enjoy sleeping on your stomach, try doing so with a very thin pillow, or no pillow at all.
- This way, you can avoid tilting your neck back and up, creating further spinal misalignment and discomfort.
- Place a thin pillow under your hips to further even out the spine and relieve pressure.
- A firm mattress can also prevent some of the spinal alignment issues that come from sleeping on your stomach.
When your mattress is firm, you’re unlikely to sink deeply into the mattress surface and stretch your spine out of alignment. The best sleep position for you is whichever sleep position enables you to enjoy a restful night of uninterrupted sleep and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed, without any aches and pains.
- If that describes your current sleep position, don’t feel forced to change it.
- If you think a new position might make sleep more comfortable for you, though, go ahead and try another position.
- Be patient and use the strategies named to help yourself adjust to the new position.
- Your sleep position plays a pivotal role in the quality of your sleep.
Changing it up is just one of many,
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- Skarpsno, E.S., Mork, P.J., Nilsen, T., & Holtermann, A. (2017). Sleep positions and nocturnal body movements based on free-living accelerometer recordings: Association with demographics, lifestyle, and insomnia symptoms. Nature and Science of Sleep, 9, 267–275.
- Khoury, R.M., Camacho-Lobato, L., Katz, P.O., Mohiuddin, M.A., & Castell, D.O. (1999). Influence of spontaneous sleep positions on nighttime recumbent reflux in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. The American journal of gastroenterology, 94(8), 2069–2073.
- Ravesloot, M.J., van Maanen, J.P., Dun, L., & de Vries, N. (2013). The undervalued potential of positional therapy in position-dependent snoring and obstructive sleep apnea: A review of the literature. Sleep & breathing, 17(1), 39–49.
- A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (2020, June 2). Problems sleeping during pregnancy. MedlinePlus., Retrieved April 12, 2021, from
- Zenian, J. (2010). Sleep position and shoulder pain. Medical Hypotheses, 74(4), 639–643.
- Anson, G., Kane, M.A.C., & Lambros, V. (2016). Sleep wrinkles: Facial aging and facial distortion during sleep. Aesthetic Surgery Journal, 36(8), 931–940.
- Berson, S.R., Klimczak, J., Prezio, E.A., Hu, S., & Abraham, M. (2018). Clinical associations between allergies and rapid eye movement sleep disturbances. International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology, 8(7), 817–824.
- O’Brien, L.M., & Warland, J. (2014). Typical sleep positions in pregnant women. Early Human Development, 90(6), 315–317.
: What Are the Best Positions for Sleeping?
How many pillows should you sleep with back pain?
You should sleep with only one pillow underneath your head, but you may want a second pillow between your legs depending on your sleep style. Ideally, you should sleep on your side or on your back for a good night’s sleep as sleeping on your stomach can give you neck or back ache.
How many pillows should side sleepers use? How many pillows should back sleepers use? How many pillows should front sleepers use? How many pillows should combination sleepers use? How high should your head be on a pillow? Choosing the right pillow.
HOW MANY PILLOWS SHOULD SIDE SLEEPERS USE? Side sleepers may find it more comfortable to sleep with two pillows, one under their head and one between their legs. For side sleepers, your pillow should be higher under your neck than your head to keep your spine straight when you sleep.
- Sleeping with a second pillow between your legs can stop the top leg from pulling your spine out of alignment and relieve stress on your lower back and hips.
- You may find it more comfortable if this second pillow is a smaller, firmer pillow such as a toddler pillow which measures 40cm x 60cm (16″ x 24″) and is around 5cm high.
See our guide to all pillow sizes, HOW MANY PILLOWS SHOULD BACK SLEEPERS USE? Back sleepers should use one medium thick pillow to support their neck. If it’s beneficial, back sleepers may also want to sleep with a second pillow under their knees. This second pillow should be a softer pillow that helps keep your spine neutral. HOW MANY PILLOWS SHOULD FRONT SLEEPERS USE? Stomach sleepers should sleep with one thin pillow underneath their head or a medium pillow underneath their pelvis or may not need to sleep with a pillow at all. If you are a front sleeper, make sure your pillow doesn’t raise your head out of alignment.
- A full body pillow could help you to sleep better.
- These pillows are 45cm x 150cm (18″ x 59″) and help to reduce pressure on your shoulders and hips while you sleep.
- HOW MANY PILLOWS SHOULD COMBINATION SLEEPERS USE? Combination sleepers move around in the night and find themselves swapping between different sleep positions.
One pillow is still the best option. This should be a medium firm pillow that is still supportive when you sleep on your side but doesn’t cause any pain to your neck or spine when you swap to sleeping on your back. HOW HIGH SHOULD YOUR HEAD BE ON A PILLOW? Your pillow should be approximately 10 – 12 cm or 4 – 6 inches off the mattress to provide the right support for the neck and head according to a study in a 2015 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.
- If your pillow is too high or too low, it will angle your neck away from your natural neutral spine alignment, potentially leading to soreness and stiffness.
- Bad sleep posture can lead to all sorts of health issues, including neck and back pain, headaches and fatigue.
- Your general health and mattress condition or type can affect your sleep posture, but the right pillow can help keep your neck in proper alignment throughout the night.
Is it better to sleep with two pillows or one? You may be used to sleeping with two pillows underneath your head. If they are providing the right amount of height and loft to keep your next and spine aligned properly and you sleep comfortably, then you may want to continue to sleep with two pillows or find a single thicker pillow that provides you with the right amount of support.
- See our guide: Best pillow for neck pain,
- CHOOSING THE RIGHT PILLOW The right pillow should help your body maintain the ideal sleeping position throughout the night, keeping your head, neck and spine in neutral alignment.
- If you wake up with neck or back pain, then your pillow is probably not offering you the right support and it could be time to treat yourself to a new one! See our guide on How to choose a pillow,
How did humans sleep without pillows?
How did humans sleep without pillows? – The question, if you think about it is a bit strange. If we think about sleeping in general, it is the ultimate relaxation. Unless you are extremely tired, you can actually sleep in almost any environment. Have you ever fallen asleep when there is loud music on? Have you slept in a tent? There is no doubt that modern pillows do make us feel more relaxed, as do mattresses.
As much as possible, try to ensure you are in a quiet and dark place without too many distractions. Lie on your back and shut your eyes. Now you are at one with the ground, really try and feel it mold with your body. If this doesn’t work, then move over to your side and you can use an arm like your pillow.
This is pretty much how our ancestors and even cavemen slept comfortably without pillows. It is believed that humans have been using some form of pillow for thousands of years, but the earliest pillows were very different from what we use today. The earliest pillows were made of stone, wood, or other hard materials, and were used to prevent insects and other small animals from crawling into a person’s mouth, nose, or ears while they slept.
- As for how humans slept without soft pillows, they likely slept in a more upright or reclined position rather than lying flat on their backs, as is common today.
- They may have also used blankets or other soft materials to cushion their heads and support their necks while they slept.
- Over time, pillows evolved and became softer and more comfortable, and they are now an essential part of many people’s sleep experiences.
However, it is worth noting that pillows are not strictly necessary for a good night’s sleep, and some people find that they sleep better without one. The optimal sleeping position and pillow preference can vary from person to person, and it’s important to find what works best for you.
How do you know if your pillow is bad?
4. It’s Flat Enough to Fold – Plenty of people like to fold their pillows while they sleep. So if you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, I do that all the time!” — but that’s not what we mean. Even if you are a frequent pillow folder, it should always bounce back to its original shape once you let go or take your head off it.
Is it good to sleep without a bra on?
02 /7 It impacts blood flow – Bras, especially the underwire ones impact the blood circulation. The wire also compresses the muscles around breast area and affects the nervous system. Other types of bras, which are too tight hurt the breast tissue. So, it’s advisable to remove bra before you hit the bed. readmore
Is my memory foam hurting my back?
Can memory foam cause back pain? – A memory foam mattress can cause back pain if you don’t find the firmness level best suited for you. The ideally firm mattress for your sleep position keeps your spine in neutral alignment while relieving your pressure points.
Why does my back hurt more on a memory foam mattress?
Summary – If you’re experiencing back pain, it’s worth considering whether your memory foam mattress might be to blame. Although memory foam mattresses are popular for their comfort and support, they can also cause problems for people with back issues.
Is memory foam really good for your back?
They are typically more expensive than other types of mattress.The number of options and features available with a hybrid mattress can be confusing.They may not contour to the body as well as memory foam mattresses can.
Some things to consider when deciding whether to buy a memory foam or hybrid mattress include: Memory foam mattresses are a good option for people with back pain, They support the natural curve of the spine, which reduces stress and fatigue on the body and helps reduce back pain.
- Memory foam may also be better for people at risk of pressure ulcers, such as during long periods of bed rest.
- One study found that memory foam mattresses reduced pressure injuries compared with normal hospital mattresses in people with chronic conditions.
- Hybrid mattresses provide a cooler surface for sleeping, due to the layer of coils that allow for airflow.
Many hybrid mattresses also contain gel or copper, which provide a cooling effect. They are a good option for people with conditions that cause hot flashes or night sweats, such as :
anxiety menopause infectionshormone disorders hyperhidrosis, which is a chronic sweating conditionlow blood sugarsome types of cancer, such as lymphoma stress
Some hybrid mattresses support specific sleeping positions. People who sleep on their side, back, or front can find a hybrid mattress with features that support their usual position. Memory foam mattresses contour to the body and support the spine, but they also trap heat.
What is the most comfortable sleeping position for back pain?
Best Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain According to the Experts – The best sleeping position to reduce pain and avoid injury is on your side, according to research. If you sleep on your back or stomach the risk of developing back pain increases by 23 percent.
What type of pillow is best for all positions?
Outer cover pills over time
|Fill material||Memory foam/polyester down-alternative blend|
|Outer cover||Polyester/rayon blend|
|Available sizes||Queen, King|
Who it’s best for: The Coop Home Goods pillow is suitable for all sleep positions thanks to its adjustable fill that lets you create your perfect height. It’s also great for people who aren’t sure what type of pillow to choose because it’s a hybrid that combines foam and fiberfill.
- An ideal balance of soft and firm, this pillow is filled with a blend of memory foam pieces and microfiber clusters.
- As a result, we found that it feels surprisingly supportive and plush at the same time.
- And though many of our top-tested pillows cost over $100, this one offers a good value.
- Just be cautious when you’re adjusting the fill to customize the height; it can get a bit messy and it’s not something you’ll want to redo on a regular basis.
It’s machine washable so you can easily keep it clean, and it immediately bounced back to shape after our Lab’s pressure tests. It’s also a best-seller on Amazon with over 50,000 reviews and an average 4.5-star rating, with users calling it the “best pillow ever.” And if you’re a hot sleeper, the brand’s Eden pillow has the same construction, but with cooling gel added to the memory foam.