Sleep position is often an underrated cause of pain. On average adults sleep 6-8 hours a night which equates to around one third of our life. It may be a good idea to sleep in a good position to minimize the chance of your sleep posture causing pain and discomfort. Often your sleep position is not the cause of your pain, however plays a significant role in slowing down the recovery time of your pain.


  • The best position is sleeping on your back, with legs straight and arms resting on your belly or by your side. It is important to have a single supportive pillow as opposed to 2 or more thin unsupportive pillows.
  • If snoring or sleep apnoea is a problem in this position, make sure your pillow is the correct height and supports the weight of your head. Otherwise sleeping on your side will be the best option


  • This is second best to sleeping on your back. The trap most people fall into when sleeping on their side is twisting the body. Sleeping on your side is ok, as long as you keep your knees and ankles on top of each other to keep your body perpendicular to the bed. If having your knees on top of each other is uncomfortable or generates pain, then grab a pillow and put it between your knees.
  • Your pillow height is very important when sleeping on your side. Ideally the pillow should fill the gap between your ear and the mattress. If you have a pillow that is too low or two high this may create discomfort in the neck and shoulders.


  • Stomach sleeping is good for no one. It puts a huge amount of tension on the neck and shoulders, and adds much strain to the lower back. If you are a stomach sleeper this needs to be something you change immediately.


Are you the type of person who sleeps in 100 different positions through the night? The reason you chop and change your position is probably because the quality of your sleep is not good. Sleep quality (how deep you sleep) is very important as this will enable you to stay in a good position for longer and feel refreshed in the morning.

  • Set an alarm 1 hour before you want to go to sleep. Ideally make this time a ‘power down’ hour in which you let your body know that it is time to switch off. In that time, dim the lights or switch off any lights that don’t need to be on. Stop looking at screens (TV, computer, phone, tablet etc). No sugar or caffeine intake in this time. If you have something on your mind or are stressed write down your thoughts in that hour, you will be amazed how much it takes your mind off things.
  • Make this a habit, your sleep quality is vital for your brain and body’s function.

 Be consistent with your sleep routine and it will pay off, because achieving good quality sleep is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself.

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Daniel Rothenberg

Daniel Rothenberg is a Sports Chiropractor with a Masters of Chiropractic and Masters of Exercise Science majoring in Strength & Conditioning. He works closely with a range of athletes in Brisbane and Ipswich.