The most common question I am asked is what is the best way to sleep. The short answer is there isn’t any. The best way to sleep is probably the position that is most natural for your body . However, some positions might be worse than others, but with a few modifications they can have fewer pain symptoms and leave you feeling refreshed and rested.

I searched the web for some tips on best sleeping positions, and this is what I found.

WSJ sleep position


This is my favorite video I found. Although using four pillows is a bit intense and might annoy your partner, it has some good suggestions. I particulary like his suggestion for stomach sleepers. 

Back Sleepers

sleep position 1

When sleeping on the back place a pillow under the knees to take pressure off of the low back.  Then with pillows placed on either side you can rest your arms on them. This can prevent your arms falling asleep in the middle of the night.



Side Sleepers

side sleep bad

Sleeping purely on your side can compress your shoulders and create aches or pains in your shoulder and make your arms fall asleep. Instead try the modified side position below.



sleep poition 2

The modified side position can help to distribute your weight more evenly and opens up your shoulders. This will take compression off of the shoulders and arms.  Begin with a pillow between your legs. Then place your bottom arm either underneath the pillow or place your arm on top of the pillow.  Then with a pillow directly behind you lean back on it.



sleep rollover

The great thing about the modified sleep position is if you want to switch sides in the middle of the night simply roll over.


Stomach Sleepers

sleep poition 4

Sleeping on your stomach is often not recommended because it places a lot of stress on the spinal joints. This can be particularly bad for conditions such as spondylosis,  spondylisthesis, and other spinal arthritis conditions.  If you like to sleep on your stomach I think you will find this postion very comfortable.  With a body pillow drape your top leg over the pillow.  Also drape the same side arm over the pillow.  Then simply rest your head on the body pillow.



sleep position 5

Another version of the stomach position is to have a second pillow under the head.  This will allow a channel for the arm underneath to lay in decreasing pressure on your arm.


There you have it.  These are some great modifications for the most common sleeping positions. I hope you sleep well. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 

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matt-squareMatthew Snow is a Licensed Massage Therapist practicing in Greenwich, CT. If you would like to schedule or make an appointment call (203) 660-0584or email To learn more about Matt check out his About Page.