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  • Daulton Physical Therapy and Fitness

Sleep Positioning

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Getting adequate sleep at night is important for the body’s healing process! Not only does the amount of sleep matter but how you sleep also makes a difference. Here are some simple techniques to put into practice that will help your body be in proper alignment for optimal sleep!

Bed Mobility

  • Use a “log roll” technique for getting in and out of bed, especially with active back pain, osteoporosis, and during pregnancy and early postpartum time.

  • Instead of sitting straight up in bed, or “jack-knifing,” move from side lying by keeping your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed while using your arm to prop you up to a seated position and swinging your legs down off the bed.


  • Use pillows to support your head, neck, legs, and even arms in a neutral position.

  • In side-lying, your pillow should fill the space between your bed and your head with your neck in a neutral (not side bent) position. A pillow should be between the lower legs (from knees to ankles), and another pillow should support the top arm to prevent rotation in the spine and allow for neutral positioning of the spine.

  • Lying on your back: Your pillow should not be too thick, causing your head to tip forward or your chin to protrude. Try placing a pillow under your knees or lower legs to help your spine to maintain a neutral position through the night.

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach. If this is what you are accustomed to, try lying on your side with your top leg towards your chest in a comfortable position and rest it on 1-2 pillows. You may also place a pillow at stomach level and slowly roll yourself onto the pillows in a position that is between lying on your stomach and lying on your side.

Back sleeping (supine) positioning with neutral spine and proper pillow support under head and legs.

Side sleeping positioning with neutral spine with pillows supporting head/neck, top arm, and top leg.

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