How to sleep if you suffer from back pain?


January 9, 2024

Sleep Society is reader-supported, that means if you buy something via a link on this page, we might earn a commission. Thank you kindly.

Would you like to know which sleeping position will relieve your back pain? Look no further. You will learn everything you need to know about sleeping positions to relieve back pain in this article. In this article, we will discuss some of the following topics:

  • What can be done to prevent back pain?
  • What is the best way to sleep with lower back pain?
  • Sleeping with a strained back? 

Find out the best sleeping position for your body type and what kind of mattress will relieve back pain. Some people prefer to sleep on their backs; others prefer to sleep on their sides.  Whatever position you choose, make sure that your spine is aligned correctly with your body to ease pain and avoid sleeping on your front. 

How to sleep with a strained back?

“Why does my lower back hurt when I sleep? If you constantly ask yourself this question, the chances are that you are sleeping in the wrong position, with the wrong mattress, pillow, or perhaps even exercising too much or too little. Below is a list of all the things you can do to rest better with a strained back:

Perfect sleeping position:

Back pain can be relieved by certain sleeping positions. Try them all out to find out which one suits you best, i.e., provides comfort and enables you to fall asleep fast. Sleeping face down on your stomach is the only sleeping position to avoid. This can put a lot of pressure on your back, causing even more pain when you wake up.

Stretching before bedtime:

Stretching your muscles and body can help you sleep better and reduce the pain areas. You can consult a sleep expert for this. Make sure you practice and hold the proper poses for this to work.

Get yourself a good mattress:

There are tons of mattresses to choose from. It can be a daunting task to select the perfect one, but spending time researching this will yield great results. In Australia's best mattress in a box companies have a 100-night sleep trial to test out the bed. You can check out our best mattress for back pain.

How to sleep with lower back pain?

The leading causes of severe lower back pain are stress, poor posture, and sleeping positions. Learning how to sleep to prevent back pain is the best way to alleviate this pain. Let’s discuss what position to sleep in with lower back pain:

The pillow sleeping position:

Side sleepers:

For side sleepers, try sleeping on your side and keep a pillow in between your knees. Prop your knees up towards your chest a little and try to fall asleep in that position. Try to keep one side of your body in constant contact with the mattress. If there is a gap between your waist and the bed, try adding a small pillow for support. This position helps support your spine, so you are not under too much pressure.

Back sleepers:

If you like sleeping on your back, place the pillow under your knees. Elevating your knees can return your body to its natural spinal curve and ease the pain.

Stomach sleepers:

Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible but if you cannot fall asleep without sleeping face down, place the pillow under your abdomen. This relieves extra stress on your back and spine.

Reclined sleeping position:

Some people may find it better to sleep in a reclining chair than on a bed. It is not recommended that you sleep in a chair, but if you feel more comfortable in a reclining chair, you can get a bed adjusted into a reclining position.

Fetal sleeping position:

First, lay on your side and roll on your side. Bring up your knees towards your chest and curl into a fetal position. Try to switch sides as often to prevent straining one side too much. Sleeping in this bent position helps your spinal discs fall into place between the vertebrae.

How to sleep with upper back pain?

Sleeping positions:

For those with upper back problems, the best sleeping position is on your back. It helps distribute the weight evenly so that the pressure on your spine is alleviated. You can also sleep on your sides, but it is best to use a pillow to prop up your joints so you still maintain the natural curve of your spine.


Whatever sleeping position you choose, remember that the alignment of your spine is crucial. It should fall into its natural curve and align with your shoulder, ears, and hips. If you experience some gaps between your position, fill them up with small blankets, cushions, and pillows for added support.


A lot of people move around when they sleep. If you are one of them, try keeping pillows around you so that they can support your movements.

How to prevent back pain? 

Hot and Cold Therapy:

This is an easy remedy that anyone can do at home. If you have acute back pain, start with applying cold and then hot in succession. Whereas, if your pain is chronic, you should use only heat treatment. On the other hand, if you are trying to relieve pain and soreness after vigorous exercise or activity, apply ice.


Even though many people might think that exercising is counterintuitive, exercise is one of the best ways to avoid back pain. Ensure that whatever activities you are doing are beneficial for your back and not causing too much strain. Keep in mind that doing the wrong exercises can make your pain worse. It is best to consult an expert about activities if you have back problems. One of the best exercises for your back pain is core exercises.


Stretching is a great way to ease back pain, especially before bed. You release any stiffness in your muscles and allow them to relax when you stretch, which aids in easing the pain and even helping you sleep better.


It is not a surprise that stress also plays a huge role when it comes to physical health. Many people carry stress on their backs and heads. Stress can even affect sleep, which in turn affects your back. Reduce stress by making lifestyle changes such as exercising more often, better posture, and taking the time to unwind and relax. Alleviating such physiological issues lie primarily in your hands. Since most of the causes are daily lifestyle habits, making simple changes can give you surprising results. Here is a Youtube video on how to sleep if you suffer from back pain.