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This was a good question asked to me last night and the answer can be simple “MOST” of the time! The cause isn’t always the sleeping position but IF that is a really INTENSE time of pain, when you get up or if you are having difficulty getting out of bed, then it is likely something that needs to be looked at..

The BEST position for sleeping isn’t always the same for everyone but there are some definite positions that we want to avoid and the major reason is that we don’t want to grind on the end range of our joints ESPECIALLY for long periods(ie sleeping). That would just cause pain and inflammation that your body is already fighting from wear and tear through the day.

The night/sleeping is our time to heal so it’s important that we get good rest and really take the time to relax in neutral positions. Sleeping on our stomach will keep us at end range extension for extended hours and there is also no place to put our face to breathe UNLESS you sleep on a massage table with a donut cut out!! The MOST IMPORTANT rule about sleeping is that we get into a “neutral” position and we try to maintain that position as often as possible.

A neutral position would be when our spine is not extended and it’s also not fully bent or twisted to one side or the other… At no point, does twisting to the OPPOSITE side to even it out work as a solution! That would just cause an extended grind on the other side.

There is no debate, the “MOUNTAIN CLIMBER” position is the most comfortable position to sleep in for at least 80% of the population. To understand this position, picture yourself lying on your side, now bend your top leg up and roll a little bit forward…. It’s very comfortable…. A lot people think they need to get in this position to fall asleep but it really pushes on the end range of those spine joints.

We spend an extended period of time in the bed, sleeping and if we spent that same amount of time standing, in an odd twisted up position, then we would immediately have pain and it would be intense enough for us to STOP holding that twist and we would get back to a more natural position. While sleeping, there is no gravity pushing down causing pressure so we can tolerate that position for longer and for years we may get away with it but once a back problem has started, this position becomes the enemy!!


Committed to your Health and Recovery,


Dr. Jonathan Ruzicka
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