The City Mattress Blog

What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Posture?


Like a healthy diet and exercise, getting a good night’s rest is critical to feeling great in your waking hours. In fact, health experts say that healthy sleep patterns are critical to every process in the body, from decision-making to fighting off disease. But “good” sleep isn’t just about how many hours you get. It’s also about the quality of those hours. Indeed, quality and quantity matter when it comes to sleep.

woman rubbing neck in bed

No matter how many zzz’s you catch, you’re not going to wake up feeling your best if you don’t sleep in the proper position. When you hit the hay, you’re effectively asking your body to unconsciously stay in a certain position for hours on end, which can sometimes result in muscle stiffness, tension, spasms and even lingering sleep injuries. The proper sleep posture and a comfortable mattress will help you wake up feeling amazing.

Is Sleep Causing You to Slouch?

When you sleep in the wrong position, you’re putting undue strain on your back, shoulders and neck, which can cause you to slouch and contribute to poor posture throughout the day. So, with this in mind, what is the best sleeping position for posture? For many people, muscle fatigue and back pain are two of the biggest contributors to poor posture. If you find yourself slouching, you’ll want to make sure you’re sleeping in a way that doesn’t cause pain in the upper back, shoulders and neck. 

Regardless of the position you prefer, it’s important that you aim for “neutral spine alignment” to support your back during sleep. Neutral spine alignment means keeping your pelvis, rib cage and skull aligned with one another so they can properly support the respective muscles surrounding them, preventing discomfort. Luckily, there are a couple of great neutral spine sleeping positions that will help prevent posture issues.

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Flat on Your Back with a Pillow Under the Knees

correct vs incorrect sleeping positions

The key to keeping your back happy is to keep your spine aligned throughout the night. Typically, when you pile up the pillows at the top of your bed so your neck is at an angle, you put undue strain on the muscles in the neck and shoulder. This will cause slouching and discomfort in the morning. Instead, lie on your back with a flatter pillow beneath your head and one beneath your knees. You can also use an adjustable bed to properly angle the knees and hips for better sleep. This will help maintain the normal curve of your spine and support the muscles in the low back and legs.

On Your Side with a Pillow Between Your Knees 

correct vs incorrect side sleeping positions

If you’re a side sleeper, it can be tough to get used to sleeping on your back. But there is still a posture-positive sleep position for side sleepers. Lie on your side with a single supportive pillow beneath your head. Bend your knees slightly and place a pillow between them. This will prevent your spine from curving downward when you sleep, which will contribute to a spinal curve that causes slouching.

What About Stomach Sleeping?

Stomach sleeping may be appealing for a variety of reasons. For one, some studies suggest that it can help reduce snoring. While it may be great for your bed partner, stomach sleeping isn’t always the best choice for those with posture issues. That’s because it tends to force the neck and shoulder muscles into twisted or strained positions, which causes pain. What’s more, the stomach position causes your spine to arch downward, which forces it out of neutral alignment.

Sleep for Better Posture

As you can see, if you think your sleep position is affecting your posture, you’ll want to make a few tweaks to ensure that your spine is aligned throughout the night. Sleeping on an adjustable bed and sticking to relatively flat head pillows are two great ways to ensure that you don’t twist the spine out of line during your snoozing session. Of course, you also want to make sure you’re sleeping on a high-quality, supportive mattress that doesn’t cause your spine to arch.


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