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What Are the Best and Worst Sleep Positions?

We’ve discussed countless times before just how important sleep is, and hopefully you’ve started to give sleep greater priority in your daily life.


Along the way, we’ve given suggestions on how to get better quality sleep each night, such as limiting blue light exposure, going to bed at the same time each night, and making your room and cool and dark as possible.


One thing we haven’t touched on, that can have a rather profound effect on your quality of sleep, is your sleeping position.


How you position your body during sleep can have a direct and tangible (if not at times painful) effect on how you feel when you wake up the next day. For instance, if you’ve ever slept on a lumpy mattress or an airplane, you know that you wake up with all sorts of aches, pains, and kinks.


Today, we discuss what are the best and worst sleep positions according to sleep experts.


Worst Sleep Position: On Your Stomach


Only a small percentage of individuals actually sleep on their stomach, which is likely a good thing as sleeping in a prone position places undue stress on the back and neck


For example, when sleeping on your stomach, your head is turned to one side, which can cause strain on the muscles in your neck.


Now, if you find it comfortable to sleep on your stomach, that’s all well and good, but be cognizant of signs of tension when you wake up in the morning. If you find that you constantly have pain in the neck or back, it might be time to try a different sleeping position, or at the very least, opt for a softer pillow.


Better Sleep Position: On Your Back


Many individuals think that sleeping on the back is the ideal position as it allows the neck and back to remain in a neutral position, avoiding the stress and strain that’s common with sleeping on the stomach. Placing a pillow under the knees can offer further benefit as it helps restore the natural curve of the back, which can be straightened too much when sleeping flat on the back, potentially leading to pain.


One other potential issue that arises with sleeping on the back is snoring, which may not seem like a big deal, but it can disrupt your partner’s sleep and may also be a sign of sleep apnea.


Snoring can be improved by breathing strips placed across the nose as well as various other devices on the market. It may also be remedied by changing your sleep position....


Best Sleep Position: On Your Side


Also known as the “fetal position,” sleeping on your side is generally considered the “best” sleep position by sleep experts for a trio of reasons, including:

  • No spinal compression
  • Reduced sleep apnea
  • Straighter legs, which supports better breathing


One other idea to improve an already great sleep position is to place a pillow between your knees for added comfort, which can help support optimal body alignment and reduce/prevent back pain.


For individuals who struggle with heartburn or acid reflux, sleep researchers note that sleeping on your left side seems to be better than sleeping on your right side or back.




Getting enough quality sleep each night is essential to a fit and healthy lifestyle. While we’ve broken down the various sleep positions in order from worst to first, it’s important to remember that no one sleep position will be perfect for everyone. Find the one that works best for you based on how you feel in the morning.


Also, remember to practice good sleep hygiene to make sure you’re doing everything you can to foster the optimal environment for a productive night’s sleep. And, if you’re looking for added help relaxing and setting the stage for sleep, check out our nighttime relaxation and recovery aids, Recharge PM or Beauty Dream PM.


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