Worst Sleeping Position For Lower Back Pain

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The worst sleeping position for lower back pain is generally considered to be sleeping on the stomach

This position can place additional stress on the lower back and spine because it flattens the natural curve of the spine and can lead to misalignment. Additionally, stomach sleeping often requires turning the head to one side to breathe, which can also strain the neck and shoulders, potentially exacerbating pain and discomfort.

Sleeping on the stomach can cause the lower back to arch more than usual, increasing the strain on the back muscles and spinal joints. Over time, this can exacerbate existing lower back issues and lead to more significant pain and stiffness upon waking.

Keep reading to learn more and find out which sleep position is best for your lower back!

Best Sleeping Positions For Lower Back Pain

For those dealing with lower back pain, choosing the right sleeping position can significantly impact comfort and the healing process. The best sleeping positions to alleviate lower back pain aim to maintain the natural curve of the spine and reduce strain on the back. Here are two highly recommended positions:

Sleeping on Your Back with Knee Support

  • Position: Lie on your back and place a pillow under your knees, with your spine neutral. The pillow helps maintain the natural curve of your lower back.
  • Benefits: This position distributes weight evenly across the widest area of your body, minimizing pressure points and aligning your spine and internal organs.
  • Additional Tips: Consider placing a small, rolled-up towel under the small of your back for additional support if there’s a gap between your back and the mattress.

Sleeping on Your Side with a Pillow Between Your Knees

  • Position: Lie on your side and place a pillow between your knees. If there’s a gap between your waist and the mattress, consider using a small pillow there for extra support.
  • Benefits: This position keeps your pelvis, hips, and spine in better alignment.
  • Additional Tips: Try to switch sides periodically to prevent any muscle imbalance. Keeping a neutral spine is crucial, so ensure your head pillow keeps your neck straight.

General Tips for All Sleeping Positions

  • Mattress and Pillow Quality: Ensure your mattress and pillows provide good support. The mattress should be firm enough to support your body’s weight but soft enough to contour to your body’s shape. Similarly, your pillow should keep your head in line with your spine.
  • Avoid Stomach Sleeping: If possible, avoid sleeping on your stomach, as it can strain your back and neck. If you can’t sleep in any other position, place a pillow under your pelvis to help keep your spine neutral.
  • Routine Stretching: Incorporate gentle stretching into your nightly routine to reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation.

Experimenting with these positions and tips can help you find the most comfortable setup for your specific back pain situation, potentially leading to better sleep quality and less pain over time.

Best Mattress Type For Lower Back Pain

The best type of mattress for low back pain is one that provides a balance between support and comfort, helping to maintain proper spinal alignment while also cushioning the body’s pressure points. Medium-firm mattresses are often recommended for people with low back pain as they offer the necessary support to keep the spine in a neutral position, reducing stress on the back muscles and ligaments. 

However, the ideal mattress can vary based on personal preference, body weight, and specific back condition. Some people may find relief with memory foam mattresses due to their ability to conform to the body’s shape, offering tailored support and pressure relief. 

Others might prefer hybrid mattresses that combine the supportive structure of innerspring coils with the comfort of foam or latex layers. 

Ultimately, the best mattress for low back pain is one that helps the individual achieve a comfortable, restful sleep while minimizing pain and stiffness in the back. It’s important to test different mattresses when possible and consider those designed with back support in mind.

Best Exercises To Alleviate Lower Back Pain

Alleviating lower back pain often involves exercises that strengthen the back, abdominal, and leg muscles to support and relieve pressure on the spine. Here are some of the best exercises designed to help reduce lower back pain:

Pelvic Tilts

  • How to Do: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor. Tighten your stomach muscles to press your lower back into the floor. Hold for a few seconds, then relax. Repeat 10-15 times.

Cat-Cow Stretch

  • How to Do: Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Inhale, arching your back downward (cow), lifting your head and tailbone. Exhale, rounding your back up towards the ceiling (cat), bringing your head towards your chest. Repeat 10-15 times.

Bird-Dog Stretch

  • How to Do: Begin on hands and knees. Extend one arm forward while extending the opposite leg back, keeping your body in a straight line from hand to foot. Hold for a few seconds, then switch sides. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.

Bridge Exercise

  • How to Do: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Lift your hips towards the ceiling, forming a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for a few seconds, then lower back down. Repeat 10-15 times.

Knee-to-Chest Stretches

  • How to Do: Lie on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Bring one knee towards your chest, holding it with your hands, while keeping the other foot flat on the floor. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Child’s Pose

  • How to Do: Start on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels, reaching your arms forward on the floor. Hold this position, feeling a stretch along your spine and shoulders. Stay in this pose for 20-30 seconds. Repeat several times.

Incorporation and Progression

Start these exercises slowly and increase the repetitions or duration as your strength and flexibility improve. It’s crucial to listen to your body and stop any exercise that causes pain. Incorporating these exercises into your daily routine can significantly reduce lower back pain and improve your overall spine health.


In conclusion, managing low back pain effectively requires a multifaceted approach, incorporating proper sleep posture, exercise, and the right mattress. For those suffering from low back pain, a medium-firm mattress that balances support with comfort can be crucial in maintaining spinal alignment and alleviating pain.

Exercises that strengthen the core and improve flexibility can also play a significant role in supporting the lower back and reducing discomfort. 

Additionally, adopting healthy sleeping positions can further help in decompressing the spine and preventing additional strain. While individual preferences and needs may vary, the combination of a supportive mattress, regular physical activity, and mindful sleeping practices can significantly impact overall back health and quality of life. 

Always consider consulting with healthcare professionals to tailor these recommendations to your specific condition and needs, ensuring the most effective and safe approach to managing low back pain.