Table of Contents


Lower back pain can cause you to toss and turn. It is not our custom to look at the sleeping position of our patients because it is difficult to force them to take control and modify their postures quickly. However, a proper sleeping posture can help you get better rest at night, particularly when the pain is severe. This article will explain the most effective and least favorable sleeping positions for lower back pain.


To aid in finding low back discomfort relief, you can place pillows on your feet or knees. If you are experiencing discomfort in this position, consider placing pillows between your legs. If the knee still feels uncomfortable, you can try placing a different pillow between your legs. Ensure that the cushion between your knees doesn’t sit too high or low (too low can stress your knee and hip joints).

Another effective sleeping position is to sleep on your back, with the pillow in front of your back, to ensure that you do not rest on the bed. If lying in a back position is not comfortable, consider sleeping on your side using an extra pillow under your legs or between your stomach. It will help if you put the pillows under your head, too. 

However, be careful to keep your spine curving naturally. Excessively flat pillows could make you “cradle” your head. This unwanted effect can cause the spine to bend out of alignment. A pillow should support your neck and head in a way that does not cause strain. 

If you are sleeping in a back position, select a firm pillow to cushion your spine. Avoid using two pillows unless they are at a similar height (one beneath your head and another under your knees, for example). When you are lying on your stomach, select the tiniest pillow.


The best sleeping position in to relieve lower back discomfort is to lie on your back with a slight bend in your knees. The knees being bent can help stabilize the body and decrease pressure on the lower back and lumbar spine. Many people find it helpful to place a small cushion between their knees to improve the comfort of this posture.

Unfortunately, the majority of stomach and back sleepers are not able to shift their sleeping positions. However, they can take steps to lessen stress on their lower back:

2.1 Adjust your mattress and pillows

The majority of us are acquainted with the most common tips and tricks in order to make your pillows feel comfier. For example, we are attracted to flipping our pillows during a hot night and feeling our pillow’s cool and refreshing face. Applying a soothing lavender spray to ease us into sleep. 

However, the truth is such things will only help in the short term. If your pillow is uncomfortable, you are probably using the wrong one or may need some tweaking to ensure maximum comfort.

It is also dependent on your individual preferences. Certain people prefer a more solid cushion behind their heads during sleep, while others prefer an elongated, spongy cushion that allows them to sleep effortlessly. In either case, there are a few changes that you may make with the pillows that will aid you in finding the ideal equilibrium.

Make sure you purchase an inflatable memory foam cushion that conforms to fit the shape of your neck, shoulders, and head each night when you lie down. Apply cooling gels, especially when you experience hot flushes or sleep in hot temperatures.

Do not overdo it with your pillow. Although it is tempting to pile pillows on top of your pillows to get that sleeping-on-the-cloud sensation, it is recommended to use one pillow of high-end quality. A high-quality pillow would prevent you from having your neck set at a high angle and helps protect your neck from getting aching.

If you are suffering from muscle pain or tension during your day, consider using a heating pad on your pillows. It functions similarly to an ice-cold water bottle, stimulating blood flow and helping muscles relax.

Make use of pillow protectors and toppers. They will add a layer of luxury to your pillow. Consider an adaptable pillow. Utilizing a pillow you control will completely alter how you sleep.

2.2 Try relaxation techniques as a healthy habit

Health professionals like integrative and complementary health specialists, as well as mental health specialists, can instruct you on various relaxation techniques. You can also study certain relaxation techniques yourself.

Relaxation techniques generally require you to focus your attention on something that is relaxing and gaining awareness about your physical body. It does not matter which relaxing technique you pick. All that matters is that you do your best to maintain a regular relaxation schedule to reap the benefits.

Techniques for relaxation include:

Autogenic relaxation. Autogenic is a term that refers to anything that emanates from within. When you practice this relaxation method, you employ visual imagery and body awareness to ease stress.

Repeat words or ideas in your head that could assist you in relaxing and lessening tension in your muscles. You could, for instance, visualize a tranquil environment. You could then concentrate on calming your breathing and slowing down your heart rate or experiencing various physical sensations, like relaxing each leg or arm at a time.

Progressive muscle relaxation: When you practice this relaxation technique, you concentrate on slow tensioning and then relax each muscle section. The section will help you distinguish between muscle tension and relaxation. It can help you become more aware of physical sensations.

Gradual muscle relaxation: start by tensing and relaxing the muscles of your toes, and then gradually work your way towards your head and neck. It is best to do this in a peaceful space with no interruptions. 

Start by stretching your neck and head, then work until your toes. Tend your muscles for approximately five seconds, let them relax for 30 seconds, and then repeat.

Visualization: Using this relaxation technique, you can create mental images that take you on an imaginary journey to an energizing, peaceful location.

To unwind, visualize. Try to incorporate as many of your senses as possible, like scent, sight, sound, and even touch. If you envision yourself relaxing by the sea, for instance, consider the scent of salty water, the sound of crash waves, and the warm sun’s rays upon your body.

You might want to close your eyes, lie in a calm place, untie the tight clothes, and concentrate on your breathing. Try to be in the present moment and focus on positive thoughts.

Other methods of relaxation may include:

  • Deep breath
  • Massage
  • Meditation
  • Tai Chi
  • Yoga
  • Biofeedback
  • Art therapy and music therapy
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hydrotherapy

2.3 Reduce the possibility of sleep disturbances

In the beginning, it is helpful to know the phases of sleep. It is common for us to go through five phases of sleep.

Stage 1: Sleep lightly. We sleep in and out and wake up easily. Our eyes are sluggish, and muscle activity decreases.

Stage 2. Eye movements cease and our brain waves slow down with occasional bursts in rapid waves known as sleep spindles.

Stage 3: Deep sleep. Very slow brainwaves, known as delta waves, appear in a series of smaller, more rapid waves.

Stage 4: Sleep deep. The brain produces a lot of delta waves. There is no eye movement, and there is no muscle activity.

Stage 5: Remaining asleep. Breathing becomes faster and irregular. It is also shallow. Eyes are jerked rapidly, and muscles in the limbs are temporarily inactive. The majority of dreams occur in this stage. However, they could be experienced in other sleep stages too.

Each cycle lasts approximately two hours. The cycle then begins with stage 1. When the cycle repeats, deep sleep durations become shorter, and the times of REM sleep get longer. Adults get half of their time sleeping in stage 2, 20% of their period in REM sleep, and 30% in other stages. The infants begin by spending around half of their sleeping duration within REM sleep.

It might seem obvious. However, we need to pay more attention to the simple reality that these phases take time. One of the most important steps to aid yourself is to allow time to get to bed. Many consider the time to go to bed and sleep until they wake up as an “8-hour period”. 

However, if you spend 20 minutes reading, then another 20 minutes watching TV, and then you have to work out another 10 or 15 minutes to go to sleep, you have cut an hour of your sleep time.

Additional Tips for Sleep

  • Maintain a consistent sleep-wake cycle. Try to sleep and rise in the same order each day.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for 4 to 6 hours before bed.
  • Do not exercise between two hours before the time you go to bed. Doing a workout for up to six hours before you go to bed can assist you in getting a better night’s sleep.
  • Avoid eating big meals within 2 hours before your bedtime.
  • Don’t sleep past 3 p.m.
  • Relax in a dark and peaceful room that has a pleasant temperature.
  • If you cannot sleep for more than 20 minutes, engage in something quiet elsewhere and return to bed once you’re tired.
  • Take a break in the 30 minutes prior to bedtime by having a perfect pre-sleep routine like a hot bath, soothing music, or even reading.

If you are consistently implementing these suggestions and it does not work, consult your doctor and discuss the sleep issues you are experiencing. It is essential to ensure that an unavoidable physical condition does not cause sleep issues. Examining your medicines to ensure they are not causing your insomnia is also important. 

Last but not least, if you need extra support, some drugs can help you sleep, which are safe if prescribed by a doctor and taken according to the directions.

Researchers have observed for a long time the connection between lower back discomfort and sleep issues, and evidence suggests a dual-way connection that could reinforce each other.

The discomfort of pain is a significant obstacle to sleeping.The lower back pain makes it difficult to feel at a level of comfort that allows you to sleep or triggers awakening at night when the pain is intense.

In addition, those who suffer from sleep issues are more likely to begin experiencing pain or discomfort that gets worse. Experts do not know what causes this, but there are many possible reasons. The lack of sleep can affect healing, alter mood, increase pain sensitivity, or cause disruption to the chemicals in the brain involved in how we feel pain.


Another connection that ties sleep to lower back discomfort is how better sleep position influences the spine’s alignment. Although posture is often connected with standing and sitting, it is equally important for lying in bed.

Sleeping positions that involve twisting, constricting, or putting tension on the lower lumbar spine may cause stiffness and pain. The pain can be more severe in the morning but can be present throughout the day.

4.1 Laying on your back with a pillow in between your knees

If sitting on your back causes discomfort to shift your body towards your side:

  1. Let your left or right shoulder be in contact with the mattress. You can also do the same for the rest of the side of your body.
  2. Place a pillow between your knees.
  3. If there’s an in-between between you and the mattress, consider putting an extra pillow for extra support.

If you only have one pillow or go for two pillows, you must be careful to rest with a different person. The situation can cause issues such as the imbalance of muscles and even scoliosis.

What can this position do for you? Doing nothing but sleep on your side will not help you feel better. It is the use of a pillow between your knees that will help. The pillow will help keep your pelvis, hips, and spine balanced.

4.2 Laying in your stomach and placing a pillow under your stomach

Some people might have told you that sleeping with your stomach on is detrimental to back discomfort. It is because it can add strain to your neck. However, if you are lying on your stomach, there is no need to push yourself into a different position. Instead:

  1. It would help to place a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to take some tension off your back.
  2. Based on how the posture feels, you could or might not decide to place a pillow underneath your head.

What is the benefit of this position? Patients with degenerative disc problems can benefit from sleeping on pillows. This healthy habit will ease any strain put on the disc space between the discs.

4.3 Lying in the lying down position

If you suffer from an injury to your disc, you might consider sleeping on your side, curled in a fetal posture:

  1. Place your body on your back, then gently roll on your side.
  2. Bring your knees towards your chest. Gently curl your torso to your knees.
  3. Make sure to switch sides from time intervals to avoid issues.

What is the benefit of this position? The discs are cushions between the vertebrae of your spine. Herniation occurs when part of a disc is pushed away from its normal location, which causes the nerve to hurt, weaken and so on. Bending your torso into a fetal position can open an area between the vertebrae.

4.4 Put pillows under your knees while lying on your back

Do you feel at ease sleeping in recliners? Even though reclining in a chair might not be the ideal choice to relieve problems with your back, this position benefits those suffering from isthmic Spondylolisthesis.

It would help if you considered purchasing an adjustable bed to ensure that you can sleep with the most support and alignment.

What is the effect of this posture? Isthmic Spondylolisthesis can be described as an illness in which a vertebra is displaced over the one beneath it. The recline can benefit your back as the angle is created between your legs and your trunk. This angle can help reduce the stress on your spine.

4.5 Laying on your back in an upright position

This position could help those suffering from chronic lower back problems, specifically those with isthmic Spondylolisthesis, an illness in which one spinal vertebra slips over the vertebra below it.

If someone feels a significant relief when they sit in a reclined position, it is worth purchasing an adjustable mattress that you can place similarly.


If you are consistently implementing these suggestions and it does not work, consult your doctor and discuss the sleep issues you are experiencing. It is essential to ensure that your sleep issues are not the result of an illness of the body that is severe. 

Besides, you should review the medications you are taking to ensure that they are not causing sleep issues. Finally, some medicines can aid in your sleep that are safe if recommended by a physician and used as directed. 

Start implementing healthy sleeping habits for a healthy lifestyle from today.

(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)