Sleep – the best sleep position to protect against back and neck pain

Everyone needs to get enough sleep to help the body to function properly, according to the NHS. But, when you get your head down for a good night’s rest, you should always sleep on your back, it’s been revealed.

Getting good quality rest is crucial. Without enough sleep, you’ll probably wake up feeling grumpy and irritable.

The way you sleep could be influencing your quality of rest, and choosing the right sleep position is very important.

Choosing to sleep on your back is the best way to prevent waking up with a bad back or neck, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

It’s crucial that you maintain a neutral spine position throughout your rest, it said.

Distributing your weight evenly across the body lowers your risk of developing pain in one specific spot.

“We don’t often think about our spines when we’re lying in bed,” it said.

“But our sleep posture can help determine whether or not we experience back pain.

“The optimal sleeping position is on your back. This evenly distributes weight across the widest surface of your body, minimising pressure points and ensuring proper alignment of your internal organs.

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“The worst position for sleeping is on your stomach due to the unnatural position of your neck.”

A foam mattress, or foam mattress topper, can help to support the natural curve of your spine.

However you choose to sleep, it’s also important to use a pillow beneath your head and neck.

Avoid placing a cushion under your shoulders, however, it added.


  • Back pain: Best position to sleep in if you want to relieve symptoms

Meanwhile, falling asleep on your stomach should be avoided at all costs, warned the National Sleep Foundation.

People that sleep on their stomach also tend to put added pressure on their muscles and joints.

That can lead to irritated nerves, and you’ll likely wake up feeling numb and tingly.

If you can’t help but sleep on your front, try lying face down, instead of having your head turned to one angle, with a pillow propping up your forehead.


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If you often struggle to fall asleep, it’s a good idea to try winding down before bed. That can include any way of relaxing the body, including reading a book or lying down quietly.

Some people find that having a warm bath before bed helps them to fall asleep faster, while others prefer writing a to-do list.

It’s important to keep to regular sleep hours, as this programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine, said the NHS.

The bedroom should be sleep-friendly, and a relaxing environment. It should be dark, quiet, tidy and kept at a temperature between 18 and 24 degrees Celsius.

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