How Your Sleeping Position Can Affect Your Back Pain, Acid Reflux and More

Lena Kirakosyan's picture
Unhealthy sleeping position can cause back pain

Back pain is a common problem. According to the World Health Organization, various diseases of the musculoskeletal system affect almost 80 percent of the population. Here is how your sleeping position can change your back pain.


Everyone at least once in their life has dealt with back pain.

"Computers, office work, and other joys of modern society affect human health,” says neuroscientist Matthew Walker, director of the Center for Science of Human Sleep at the University of California at Berkeley.

But there is another reason for back pain, which few people have thought of: sleeping habits. Or rather, your sleeping position.

According to research, sleeping in certain positions affects how the blood circulates in the body, how joints work, and ultimately, how your back is affected.

In addition, scientists believe that a person's sleeping position can cause the development of other health problems. This is bad news.

However, the good news is that, in order to improve health, you can simply change your sleeping position. Here, for example, are some health problems and the sleeping position which may help to ease them.

Back Pain

Lie down on either side - whether it's right or left - but with slightly bent knees. Keep your arms in front of you. Here are several strategies for coping with chronic back pain.


Acid Reflux

This is the name of a condition where stomach contents go back up into the esophagus. To help control this unpleasant condition, put your arms in front of you and lie on your right side, says this doctor from Russia. But in a 2011 story, EverydayHealth says "don't sleep on your right side. For some reason, this seems to prompt relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter — the tight ring of muscle connecting the stomach and esophagus that normally defends against reflux. Do sleep on your left side. This is the position that has been found to best reduce acid reflux."

Nasal Congestion

With this kind of trouble, the worst thing you can do is fall asleep on your back, especially during the winter. Lie down on your side and keep your head on a large pillow - doing so helps decrease mucus, and at the same time, will increase the outflow of excess fluid.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Lie on your back and put a pillow under your knees. This position relieves pressure.

Neck Pain

Sleep on your back and keep your neck as straight as possible. Check out this story linking neck pain to sleeping position.

If you suffer from any of these conditions, try sleeping in one of the suggested positions. Let us know how it works for you.

Reference: KP



I always try to sleep on my left side. Right side gives me heartburn.
I suffer from acid reflux(Taking Prilosec and Zantac) I sleep on two pillows on my right side.
I took Prilosec for years fighting acid reflux, taking two a day for the last year or two. Simply sleeping on the correct side and moving off the incorrect side when I could feel acid burn starting, has allowed to me stop taking Prilosec totally for the last year. Any acid discomfort I have now, which is very rate, two tablets of Alka-Seltzer fixes immediately. Or a couple of Tums. Nothing else, and certainly not Pepto-Bismol, which disrupts my intestinal tract for days.
I have bulging disks, stenosis, and scoliosis in my neck and upper back. It's not fun.
I have stenosis and acid reflux and once I bought an adjustable bed I am greatly improved! No reflex unless I eat something spicy and I slept in a position with raised head and feet so it's almost like zero gravity for my back. I have cut way back on pain medication. I get more sleep as well. I chose a Tempur Pedic but there are other brands. Try them out. When I tried the one I bought, I bought it immediately when I felt all the stress relieved from my lower back.
Yeah I know the potential side effects..basically all of those acid reflux medications have side effects and can cause harm to the kidneys, liver, etc..its better than getting Barretts..which my brother was recently diagnosed with(Caught it early stage) he had NO symptoms, for me I have constant stomach burn/pain and the doc did the endoscopy and found he said its better to have a lot of pain and find nothing than have NO pain and be a ticking time bomb