Sleeping Postures to Fix Common Body Problems

Shamlee Pathare

August 11, 2023

A good night’s sleep is vital for physical, mental and emotional health. Sleep needs tend to vary, but most adults need an average of eight hours of sleep every night. Along with the amount of sleep you get every night, it’s important that your sweet slumber translates into good sleep. Sleeping in the right posture is critical and can help avert common health issues such as aches, pains and indigestion. There are three main sleeping positions – side, back and stomach – with variables of each. We give you the best sleeping postures to make routine aches and pains a thing of the past.


shoulder pain – dislocation

There can be several reasons you are suffering from shoulder pain – dislocation, overexertion, tendonitis, joint instability or pinched nerves. Changing your sleeping position may help with the pain

What should you do

Sleep on your back instead of sideways so that you don’t exert pressure on the shoulders. If you can’t sleep without turning to the side, position a pillow at chest height and place your arm on it.


Neck pain

The neck takes a lot through the day – it needs to cope when we hunch as we work, crane it to talk on the phone or place too many pillows underneath while going to sleep. Pain relief gels do help, but sleeping in the right posture can make things better.

What you should do

Keep your neck in a neutral position when you lie down. The neck must be in level with the rest of your body – so no pillows. A rolled-up towel placed under your neck may help. Sleeping on the stomach is a no-no.



Anyone who has suffered from back pain knows how difficult it can make life. Even the simplest of tasks seem tough as the ache restricts movements like turning or moving. Being mindful of your sleeping posture can fix this over time.

What you should do

Sleeping in a foetal position with a pillow placed between your knees can help alleviate back pain. If you sleep on your back, placing a pillow under the knees and a rolled towel under the small of the back can help. Sleeping on the stomach is not recommended; if you must, place a pillow under the pelvis to release strain.



Who would have thought there’s a connection between heartburn and the sleeping position? Turns out poor sleeping posture can force stomach acid to flow back up into the food pipe. Apart from adopting a healthier lifestyle and making changes in the diet, a tweak in sleeping position can also help manage this condition.

What should you do

Sleeping sideways can keep acid reflux at bay. Try and sleep on the left side of the body. This side houses the lymphatic system and promotes proper settling of stomach acids. Elevating your head with pillows or by raising the head of the bed with wooden blocks can also provide relief.


heel pain

Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of heel pain in those who’re on their feet a lot. The plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes, and supports the arch of the foot. Straining the plantar fascia leads to inflammation, redness, scarring or structural breakdown. The heel or the bottom of the foot hurts when you stand or walk.

What you can do

Keep the ankles and heels relaxed while sleeping; don’t tuck them in too tightly under the sheets – this can cause them to point downwards. Use your feet to pull the covers up and make a little “tent” so your feet point up comfortably. A night splint can also help keep the plantar fascia stretched while you sleep.


health issues

This sleep disorder leads a person to shallow breathe or experience one or more pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses may occur many times, and may disrupt the sleep pattern. If not attended to, sleep apnea may lead to serious health issues such as heart disease, hypertension, stroke and obesity.

What you should do

Several studies show that people who sleep on their back are more likely to have apnea than those who sleep sideways. Sleeping on the side or on the stomach keeps the tongue and tissues from obstructing your airway. Avoid rolling on the back by tying a small ball on a string around your waist; make sure it rests on your lower back.

Most of us spend almost one-third of our life in bed, meaning that our sleep positions have a huge impact on our physical health and quality of sleep. Restful yoga poses such as Shavasana, Viparit Karani, Balasana and Supta Baddha Konasana can also help. Make these small adjustments to enjoy sound sleep and wake up refreshed.

If you suffer from chronic back pain or acid reflux, our experts can suggest exercises and lifestyle changes to manage your condition.

About the Author

Shamlee seemed destined to take up a career in Yoga, having started practicing the discipline at the tender age of 3. She completed her Master's and her Bachelor's degrees in Yoga Therapy from the S-VYASA University. A specialist in Diabetes and Stress Management, Shamlee has conducted research on how Yoga aids individuals with common ailments at AIIMS, New Delhi. A former member of the Indian Yoga team, she is presently a Yoga Team Lead at HealthifyMe. Shamlee believes Yoga is the answer to any individual's health issues, whether they are physical or mental.

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