Does your Sleep Position Affect Spinal Alignment?

Most medical experts recommend us to dedicate at least a third of our days to sleeping. In terms of hours, that’s about eight per day where you body stays in a certain position, and this position can affect your spine’s curvature and position. Unnatural sleeping positions can lead to back pain, since they put the spine under more pressure. If you already experience some kind of pain, then the way you sleep may make it worse. How is sleeping position maligning your spine, and what positions are best?

Mattress Quality

No matter how you sleep, the quality of your mattress can ruin everything for you. On a good quality mattress, your body weight distributes evenly as the make adjusts to your shape and size. You have most likely seen commercials on how bad bed springs can be for you. While this is true in some ways – bad springs won’t support your spine’s curve and can inflame pressure points – high quality springs can still be a good option. However, you should look for a foam mattress if you can afford it. If you can’t, there are also foam mattress toppers you can put on top of springs for more support.

Sleeping on your back

Your main goal in keeping a good sleep position is keeping your spine and internal organs aligned. This is why sleeping on your stomach tends to be the worst position, as your neck is forced into an unnatural spot and your spine’s natural curve flattens. If you prefer sleeping on the side, you may suffer from back pain and muscle imbalance, but that is usually from the aforementioned bad mattresses. Putting a pillow between your legs helps keep the pelvis, spine, and hips aligned, preventing spinal misalignment when you sleep.


You can’t sleep when you’re not comfortable. Many people who twist, turn, and put themselves in bad sleeping positions usually do so to try to counter their discomfort. Most of the disturbance comes from stress due to not enough exercise and movement, so if you keep a routine of stretching and exercise, you may have an easier time sleeping on your back.

Still experiencing back pain even with proper sleep position? Contact us at the Spine Institute for an appointment.