If you are someone who sleeps on their sides, tummy, in the fetal position, or splayed out across the bed, it might be time to consider switching to sleeping on your back. Sleeping on your back can provide some serious health benefits, and is a simple and cost-effective way to prevent pain and tension in your body. Read on to find out more about why this sleep position might be a total dream.

It might strike you as an uncomfortable way to hit the hay, but back sleeping may be worth the effort.

The science behind back sleeping

Back sleeping or supine sleeping, offers a host of health benefits that you might not have considered.

Back sleeping can benefit you by:

A 2019 review found that back and side sleeping are associated with less spinal pain than stomach sleeping for adults.

While supine sleeping may have benefits, it’s definitely not the most popular position.

According to a 2017 study, most people prefer to sleep on their sides as they approach adulthood. Interestingly, the study noted that children sleep equally on their side, back, and front.

The same 2019 review mentioned above noted that more than 60 percent of European adults are lateral, or side sleepers.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to make the switch, even if you sleep on your tummy or your side. Here are just a few.

May reduce back and neck pain

Back sleeping helps reduce pressure on your spine. This position mimics standing up straight.

Sleeping on your stomach with your head to one side is akin to having your head turned in one direction for hours while sitting or standing, causing soreness. It also compresses the spine because your neck is tilted back.

It’s much easier to give your spine rest by lying on the back, using pillows for comfort, and maintaining the natural curve of the spine.

A 2017 study noted that sleeping on the back with both hands at the sides or on the chest is the best way to prevent pain.

May prevent tension headaches

Similar to its effect on your neck and spine, back sleeping takes the pressure off of your head.

Cervicogenic headaches, or headaches rooted in the cervical spine, start in the neck and are often mistaken for migraines. Symptoms may include:

By keeping your head, neck, and spine in a neutral position, you alleviate pressure and avoid pain.

Pro tip: Even while sleeping on your back, it may be habitual to turn your head. Use pillows to give neck support and prevent your body from giving in to temptation.

Waking with the sun

When face up, you more readily notice changes in light.

As sunlight streams into your bedroom, you can better receive the signal from the sun that it’s time to wake up.

You may find this way of waking up more pleasant than the sound of an alarm clock. Plus, light helps regulate your circadian rhythm, so you can sleep and wake up at optimal times.


If you want to give back sleeping a go, be sure to have multiple pillows and a rolled-up towel handy.

Try putting a pillow under your knees or a rolled up towel under your lower back. This will help to support your body in areas with natural curves and shift pressure from your back.

There are also plenty of products on the market that can help your transition to supine sleeping go as smoothly as possible.

Curved pillows can help with head elevation; our favourite, and the one we carry at Evolve is the Normalizer Pillow, it is specially designed to support your neck while supine sleeping. A bolster pillow can go under the knees to support the lower back.

It can also help to create a bedtime routine to simplify falling asleep in an unfamiliar position, similar to sleeping in a different bed.


  • a warm beverage at least 30 minutes before bed
  • low lighting in the hours before bedtime
  • meditation
  • Deep belly breathing
  • relaxing scents, like lavender
  • less screen time before bed


While there are plenty of different ways to sleep, back sleeping offers multiple benefits that are hard to ignore, including:

If you decide to make the switch, take your time and arm yourself with tools to make the transition as easy as possible. Once you go for it, you’re likely on your way to sweeter, sounder sleep.

Please note that the advice in this article doesn’t replace personalized medical advice from a professional.

To learn more or to book a consultation with one of our experienced chiropractors email us at info@evolvevancouver.ca.