Select Page

What Are The Best Sleeping Position For Your Neck And Spine

Feb 10, 2023

woman sleeping in bed near smartphone | What Are The Best Sleeping Position For Your Neck And Spine | Featured

Laying on your side or on your back is the best sleeping position for neck and spine alignment. Sleeping on your stomach may cause neck pain.

RELATED: What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Lower Back Pain?

Best Sleeping Position for Neck and Spine Alignment — How to Get Your Best Sleep Yet

Best Sleeping Positions

woman in white shirt lying on bed | best sleeping position for neck pain

Sleeping on your side or on your back is great for keeping your posture neutral. Sleeping on your side with your legs extended helps keep your spine in a neutral position. As you sleep on your side, imagine your normal standing posture. If it feels similar, you’re probably doing it right. Laying on your back spreads your weight, making sure you’re not applying too much pressure on your shoulders or craning your neck.

Worst Sleeping Position

young female sleeping on bed in morning | best sleeping position for neck and spine

Laying on your stomach may:

  • contort the natural curve of your back
  • cause neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • lead to facial wrinkles

Sleeping on your stomach might be a good idea if it’s the most comfortable position for your back pain. Otherwise, explore other sleeping positions you might find more comfortable.

Using Your Pillow to Get the Best Sleeping Position for Neck and Spine Alignment

a woman wearing a sleep mask while sleeping | how to align your spine in bed

How to Align Your Spine in Bed

When sleeping on your side, place a small pillow underneath your waist. If you have a slim waist, a great nano gel bolster pillow is moldable to the shape that works best for you. A flatter pillow between your thighs and knees can help align your pelvic area and keep your lower back in a comfortable, neutral position. Extending your legs also extends your spine. So as much as you want to sleep like a baby, you might wake up with adult-sized back pain.

When sleeping on your back, pay attention to the height (or loft) of the pillow by your head. Does it push your h head too high up that it flexes your neck? Or is it too low that it doesn’t support the natural curve of your spine around your neck? If a rectangular pillow doesn’t do it, try tucking a bolster pillow underneath your neck. Its rounded edges may do better at supporting the curve of your neck.

For optimal and pain-free rest, use full advantage of bolster pillows. Think of them as tools to fill in the blanks and to bolster parts of your body that your mattress can’t quite reach, like:

  • the space between your knees
  • underneath your knees
  • under your arms
  • around your lumbar area

The key is to find the most spine-neutral position from head to toe. One that doesn’t strain your muscles and feels the most natural. If you’re twisting your neck, it’s a sign to adjust your sleeping position.

Should Shoulders Be On Your Pillow When You’re Sleeping?

No, your pillow is not meant to cradle your neck along with your shoulders.

When you look at your spine from the side, you will notice that your spine slightly curves forward leading up to your neck. As you sleep on your back, the role of your pillow is to support your head so that your neck maintains that spine-neutral curve. And as you rest on your side, your pillow should be high enough that your neck and shoulders aren’t pressed into each other.

For shoulder pain, your pillow and mattress should work in harmony to provide pressure relief. The shoulders are a prominent pressure point for side sleepers. If you’re experiencing constant shoulder pain, assess whether your mattress cradles and allows your shoulders to sink deeply enough. A mattress that’s too firm — one that pushes your shoulders against your body — might be misaligning and straining your spine.

RELATED: Do Pillows Expire? How Can You Tell If You Need A New Set

When You Have a Bad Bed

a woman lying in bed with a sleep mask | should shoulders be on pillow when sleeping

There are telltale signs when your bed is due for replacement. You might spot sagging arms or there may be a permanent depression that looks eerily similar to the shape of your body. Or you might be experiencing chronic back pain.

Unless your doctor rules out other causes for your pain, you might want to suspect your mattress.

One of the purposes of a body-supportive mattress is to promote the natural curve of your spine. And when it’s sagging in areas where it shouldn’t, then it wouldn’t be able to support you the way you need it to. Not only does a dip in your mattress makes for an uncomfortable mattress, but it might also curve your spine.

When your spine isn’t aligned, you might be adding too much pressure on your muscles. And when they’re strained the whole night, they can become tomorrow’s muscle pain.

Is Your Mattress up to the Task?

open curtain | best sleeping position for neck and spine

The best bed for neck and spine alignment is highly individualized. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. That said, it may take some trial and error, plenty of research, and multiple mattress tests to find the perfect one.

But today, we narrow it down for you.

Perfect Spine

white pillows on a bed | should shoulders be on pillow when sleeping

The Perfect Spine collection includes the Ambassador, Monarch, and Reserve. Each bed comes in a different comfort level designed to promote the best sleeping position for neck and spine alignment.


The Ambassador is a mid-plush mattress, perfect for sleepers under 60kg. It’s packed with multiple comfort layers, like the KoolComfort™ and a latex layer to provide you with a cool, body-contouring sleeping surface. The pocket spring foundation finely adapts to the curves of your body, supporting you in any sleeping position you choose. This mattress will absorb all your pressure points and support your weight, allowing your muscles to rest easily at night.


With sturdy and endlessly reliable pocket springs, this firm mattress works hard to mold to your particular body shape, providing you with the most luxurious sleeping experience.


The Reserve has a medium comfort level, perfect for light sleepers (under 60kg) that crave sturdy support but with a plush sleeping surface. This mattress is made with a latex layer and a spine support foam designed to adjust to your curves. And with a pocket spring foundation, this hybrid bed will give you optimal sleep regardless of your sleeping position.

The best sleeping position for your neck and spine is resting on your side or on your back. In these positions, you can achieve a spine-neutral posture that doesn’t strain any part of your body. Using multiple pillows and an excellent mattress can help you achieve optimal sleep — absolute bliss for you and your body.

What’s your favorite sleeping position? Does it help you sleep like a baby? Or are you about to go mattress shopping on the Serta website? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.