If You Suffer From Any of These 9 Problems, Here’s the Position You Should Be Sleeping In

You already know how important it is to get enough rest each night, and perhaps you have a favorite sleeping position when you hit the hay. Comfort usually directs the way you lie down, right? Some of us are back sleepers, side sleepers, or stomach sleepers because it helps us to doze off better.

But did you know that certain health issues can be exacerbated or lessened according to how you sleep? University researchers  and physicians have discovered that conditions like acid reflux, sleep apnea, or headaches can be alleviated by tossing and turning in a different direction.

If you have one of the health issues below, you may find that switching up your sleep position will make a difference. Check out these tips!

  1. PMS

    There are two ways you can sleep to relieve PMS symptoms: on your back or in the fetal position. When lying on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help take some of the pressure off your lower back.

    In case you need a refresher on how to curl into fetal position, lay on your side and bend your knees. It’s up to you how far up you want to swing them, but fetal will take pressure off the abdomen and alleviate pain.

  2. Neck Pain & Headaches

    To treat neck or head pain, sleeping on your back or side is best. Your pillows also make a difference. Use a memory foam pillow that will support the contour of your head, or a flatter, soft pillow that won’t cause the neck to be in a flexed position overnight. A small neck roll (pillow) is especially helpful for back sleepers.

  3. Back Pain

    Like your neck, back pain is aggravated during sleep when your spine is out of alignment. Other factors also contribute to back pain, but to mitigate the issue, sleep on your back with a small pillow tucked under your knees. This will keep your spine and hips aligned, prevent your spine from arching, and relieve pressure from your back.

  4. Acid Reflux & Heartburn

    Sleeping on your left side reduces the chance of acids traveling upwards into the esophagus. For added support, use a wedge pillow to elevate your upper body.

  5. TMJ/Jaw Pain

    Lying on your back to sleep helps the jaw and face muscles to relax. Make sure your face is tilted towards the ceiling without craning your neck. If you’re a tooth grinder, try leaving your teeth parted while your mouth is closed.

  6. Snoring

    Snoring is worse when you sleep on your back because your tongue drops towards the back of the throat, partially obstructing the airway. Sleep on your side to thwart gravity’s pull on your tongue and for better, quieter breathing. Slide a pillow in between your legs to keep pressure off your spine and hips.

  7. Digestive or Pregnancy Discomfort

    Sleeping on your left side allows for better digestion, as that’s the side your stomach is on. Pregnant women will also find this position to be comfortable as it allows for better circulation.

  8. Sore Shoulders

    Avoid compressing the shoulders when sleeping on your side and sleep on your back instead. This will allow the fluid in your joints to flow properly, reducing inflammation and soreness in the shoulders. Place your arms at your sides so your shoulders can relax.

  9. Sciatica/Leg Pain

    Sleep on your back with a pillow propped up under your knees to alleviate sciatic nerve pain. Position it so that your heels and buttocks remain on bed.

What do you think of this advice? Do you have one of these health issues and plan on trying a new sleep position? What’s your go-to sleep position?


Harvard Medical School 

Women’s Health Mag

University of California, Berkeley