Aches and pains can make getting a great night’s sleep feel impossible. The position you choose to sleep in can greatly help with easing your aches and pains. However, if you sleep in the wrong position not only could it not relieve you pain, it could actually make it worse. We are going to share with you all of the different sleep positions and how they could potentially help or hinder your pain relief. Stick around for tips on relieving pain and getting the sleep you deserve.
Struggling with back pain? Check out the Top Mattresses For Back Pain.
Sleeping on Your Stomach:
Generally, we do not recommend sleeping on your stomach. We know some folks seriously love sleeping on their stomachs. However, it is hard to avoid neck strains and back pains when you sleep on your stomach. We are going to share a few of the pros and cons, and then give a few tips if you insist on sleeping on your stomach.
Stomach Sleeping Helps to Reduce:
- Snoring & Sleep Apnea
- Pressure or friction on back skin irritations (sunburns, tattoos, rashes, etc.)
Stomach Sleeping Aches & Pains:
- Neck Pain (Caused by having to lay head from one side or the other to breath)
- Shoulder Pain
- Lower back pain (Cause by lack of support around hips)
- Numbness and stiffness overall (Caused by poor circulation)
Tips for Stomach Sleepers:
- Place a small pillow or rolled towel under your hips to support your back. This will help keep your back from bowing into the bed. Which can cause lower and upper back pain.
- Invest in a low-profile pillow. A lot of neck strain for stomach sleepers is caused by having a pillow that is too high. Try to find a pillow that has a very thin loft.
- Try sleeping on your back from time to time. Even if you find that you still wake up having readjusted to your stomach throughout the night, the more time you spend sleeping on your back instead of your stomach, the less aches and pains you will have in the morning.
- Sleep on a firm and supportive mattress. If your bed is too soft, your hips will dip in too far and cause your back to bow uncomfortable.
Check out our favorite mattresses for stomach sleepers.
Sleeping on Your Side:
Sleeping on your side is our first runner up when it comes to choosing a sleep position to relieve pain. While it is not always the best for shoulders or hip pain, sleeping on your side can be helpful with a great number of different causes for aches and pains.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, there are different precautions you can take to ensure that your sleep is more comfortable and avoid aches and discomfort.
Side Sleeping Helps to Lower:
- Snoring & Sleep Apnea
- Pain from Herniated Disks
- Back Pain
- Neck pain (With proper pillow)
- Sciatic pain
- Gas pain, indigestion, and heart burn (When Laying on Left Side)
- Period Pains & Cramping
Downsides of Side Sleeping:
- Shoulder pain (can be okay with proper support)
- Hip pain (can be okay with proper support)
- Often requires repositioning in order to remain comfortable.
- Potential heartburn (when you lay on your right side.)
Pain Relieving Tips for Side Sleepers:
- Invest in a lofty pillow. Thicker pillows help to keep your head and neck properly supported.
- Place a small pillow between your knees. This keeps your knees from knocking together as well as keeping your back straight.
- Get a softer mattress, soft to medium comfort level for a mattress is going to allow your shoulders and hips to dip into the mattress enough to avoid pressure points as well as keep your back in proper alignment.
- Sleeping on your left side helps to avoid gastrointestinal distress. This is due to the shape of our stomachs. When you lay on your left side, this will help you to avoid acid reflux, gas, and more.
Check out our top picks for mattresses that work best for side sleepers in our post: top mattresses for side sleepers.
Sleeping on Your Back
When it comes to most aches and pains, sleeping on your back is going to be your best bet. For the most part, sleeping on your back tends to be the most comfortable position. Those who sleep on their backs tend to have less interrupted sleep and do not have to readjust nearly as often as those who sleep on their sides or stomach.
With the right mattress and proper support, your spine will stay in proper alignment as well. Making this the position of choice for most with back and joint pain.
Pain Relieving Benefits to Back Sleeping:
- Relieves Sciatic Pain
- General Lower Back Pain
- Upper Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Spine Alignment
- Hip pain
Downside of Back Sleeping:
- Back Pain (If your mattress is too soft!)
Pain Relieving Tips for Back Sleepers:
- Medium to Firm Mattress – If your mattress is too soft your back may bow and cause discomfort.
- Invest is a medium loft pillow – Too high or too low can cause neck strain
- Support your knees – Use a towel or pillow to support under your knees. This helps prevent potential back arching.
- Use a wedge pillow or adjustable base to avoid snoring. – If you snore sleeping at an incline can help prevent snoring.
We love the wedge pillow collection from Brentwood Home for preventing snoring or under the knees.
Tips for Pain Free Sleep:
Stretch Before Bed:
When you are heading off to sleep, your body is about to be still for with minimal repositioning for hours on end. If you have any tight muscles, this can increase the likelihood of waking up with more knots and strains and pains than when you went to sleep.
By stretching you are working out any tightness that could potentially create more issues. A good stretch in the morning is also a great practice for waking up as well. It is a great way to slowly get your blood flowing and get ready to take on your day.
Learn more about the benefits of stretching in our post: Stretch??
Take a Bath:
The warmth and soothing nature of a bath is the perfect way to relax your body, mind, and soul before bed. We recommend this to all as a relaxing routine before you go to sleep, however it is especially good for those who struggle with aches and pains.
A nightly bath can help tense muscles to relax, this not only feels great it can also help prevent more aches and pains from arising from sleeping on tense knotted muscles. Epsom salts make for a great addition to your bath as they can help to lower inflammation in the body.
Click to see How To Create A Stress Free Nightly Routine.
Heat & Cool:
Depending on what is the cause of your specific aches and pain, heat and or cold can help to relieve your aches and pains. Try to do an extra bit of selfcare right before you head off to bed. Typically, heat is better in the evenings while cold can help take away inflammation and to start your days in the morning.
There are a lot of great heating and cooling systems for beds these days. These can be a great way to safely prove heat or cool for your body throughout the night. They can even be adjusted throughout the evening if you wake up in the middle of the night with a bit of pain. You don’t even need to get out of bed.
Meditation practices not only help to relax the mind, but the body as well. There are different kinds of meditation and a lot of it has to do to focusing your mind. When you are able to take your mind off of pain, calm your mind, calm your body, a lot of the tension caused by feeling and focusing on pain goes away.
Which in turn helps to relax muscles which can help to relieve pain. It is not a cure all by any means, but it can lower the intensity of pain. It is also a great way to relax and prepare for sleep!
Click here to view our post: Meditation for Sleep, Anxiety & Healing
Best Sleeping Positions for Pain Relief – Final Thoughts:
The position in which you sleep can either help to lower your pain, or it can in fact create more aches and pains. Which is why we hope this guide gives you a better idea on how the different sleep positions can either help to reduce pain, or make it worse. This way you can find your ideal sleep position and find better relief.
Have a question for us? Feel free to contact us, we would love to answer any questions you may have.