How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up feeling rested and refreshed, or sore and uncomfortable? Many of us don’t spend much time thinking about our posture when sleeping, but it turns out that our sleep position can greatly affect our daytime wellness, especially when it comes to neck and back pain. Your sleep posture can strain your back and lead to all kinds of bothersome aches and pains when you wake up. Read on to learn how your favorite sleep position might be harmful and how you can make simple changes to avoid back pain.

Side Sleeper

Most people favor a side sleeping position, so it’s good news that this is a fairly healthy sleep posture overall. When you sleep on your side, your spine is elongated and you’re less likely to snore.

However, your body will often twist slightly so that your upper leg rests on the mattress, and this rotation can strain your pelvis and lower back, causing lower back pain. Placing a small pillow between your knees will prevent your top leg from twisting to rest on the mattress, thus reducing the potential for lower back pain.

Additionally, the uneven stress on one shoulder can lead to shoulder pain.  If you often experience pain in one shoulder, try sleeping on your other side or switch to sleeping on your back.

Back Sleeper

If you aren’t a snorer, sleeping on your back is the ideal sleep position. While this position is the worst for snoring, it is ideal for back health because it is easy to keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. Placing a small pillow under your knees to elevate them will further assure that your back stays in an optimal, neutral position.

Stomach Sleeper

Sleeping on your stomach places the most strain on your body, because it makes it nearly impossible to keep your spine in a neutral position. Your joints and muscles are also strained, which can lead to pain or numbness in your back, pelvis, and legs. Furthermore, you place undue strain on your neck by keeping it turned to one side for hours at a time.

If you are only comfortable sleeping on your stomach, minimize your pain by putting a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to support your lower back and reduce the unnatural curvature of your spine. If you find that your neck and back are strained, try sleeping without a pillow under your head.

No matter how you sleep, be sure to carve out plenty of time for rest each night. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your overall well-being.