How should I sleep?

How should I sleep?

Many chiropractic patients ask about the best way to sleep to avoid further injury or exacerbation of back pain or neck pain. So what is the best? Sleeping on your back is generally considered the best way to sleep for spinal health. When you sleep on your back the pressure of the bed is more evenly distributed throughout your body. That way you don’t have uneven stress on certain areas of your body.

If you sleep on your side you still have a good chance of not putting too much stress on any point of your spine, while keeping your spine fairly straight (which is good). However, you may notice that your shoulder or hip may be sore in the morning. That is because the shoulder and hip that are contacting the bed are supporting the majority of your body weight. This is an uneven loading of these joints, especially for the shoulder as it is not built to withstand heavy loads.

The worst position is on your belly. When you sleep on your belly you have to turn your head to the side to breathe. This puts strain on the muscles and joints of your spine, specifically for your neck. This may not bother you each morning but over time this will lead to some major wear and tear on the small muscles that allow for head and neck rotation. Also, it will put your head into extension if you use a pillow, and that is not an ideal sleeping posture as more pressure will be put on the facet joints (the joints between your vertebrae).

What about your pillow(s)? For spinal health you want your vertebrae to be lined up when you sleep. That means when you lie on your back you should have one pillow supporting your head. If you are using two or more for another medical reason consult your doctor. Otherwise, two pillows will put your neck into flexion, instead of a neutral position, which will put a strain on the back of your neck and head. If you sleep on your side you want your vertebrae in line, usually meaning you need one large pillow. However, if you have very broad shoulders you may need two pillows to keep your neck in line with the rest of your spine. Ask your chiropractor if you have more questions about the best ways to sleep to maintain optimum spinal health.


Kauffman Chiropractic is your source for health and wellness. If you have been searching for a licensed chiropractor near Loveland Ohio, Mason Ohio, Madeira Ohio, or the greater Cincinnati area you have come to the right place. Please call our Loveland Ohio Chiropractic office at (513) 444-4529 for your appointment.

  1. dr kauffman

    Dr. Kauffman is a licensed chiropractor in Loveland, OH. Patients travel from all over Cincinnati and the Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky regions to seek our uniquely effective care.