How Can I Train Myself to Sleep on My Back?

Sleeping on your back puts less stress on your neck and spinal column.
Sleeping on your back puts less stress on your neck and spinal column. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Studies show that the most common sleeping style is the fetal position, with about 41 percent of sleepers falling into that category. But experts like Terri Trespicio, senior editor at "Body + Soul" magazine, say that for spine health, sleeping on your back without a pillow is the ideal position; it's much preferred to sleeping on your stomach, which can flatten the alignment of your lower back and could also affect your neck as it is forced to into an angle each evening. You can teach yourself to sleep on your back with some practice and determination.

Things You'll Need

  • Bed
  • Pillows
  • Towel

Practice laying on your back outside of bed to find a position that is comfortable for you. Use a rolled up towel or small pillow for neck and head support if it helps you feel more relaxed.

Place a pillow under your head if necessary, but do not have the pillow under your shoulders as you settle in to bed. Place a large pillow under your knees as well.

Place pillows beside your body as barriers to prevent you from changing positions while you sleep.

Attempt falling asleep while on your back. If you are tired and can maintain a comfortable position while laying on your back, falling asleep this way can become habit.

Return to your back each time you wake up in an alternate position.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be patient. It may take your body some time to adjust. A firm mattress and box springs can help you obtain a better night's sleep.
  • It's critical to keep the spine's natural curves during the sleeping process to avoid lower back pain. Experts recommend putting a pillow under your knees to help maintain that posture.

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