Find the Perfect Sleep Position

Stomach, Back or Side? How You Slumber Can Aggravate Pain, Prevent the Body From Bouncing Back

The Wall Street Journal—January 14, 2013

Tossing and turning all night to find that perfect sleeping position?

Experts say there is no one right way to sleep. But for people with certain types of pain and medical conditions, there are positions that can help keep problems from getting worse and may even alleviate them. In some cases, sleeping in the same position night after night can itself create pain, such as neck or shoulder problems.


Neck pain. Avoid sleeping on your stomach, experts advise people with this condition.

Joseph Feinberg, M.D., director of the physiatry, or rehabilitative medicine, at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, suggests supporting the neck.

This helped Loli Wu, 45, an investment banker in Manhattan, who said he used to wake up with horrible neck cramps. Dr. Feinberg diagnosed a herniated cervical disc, the result of years of imperfect posture.

In addition to physical therapy, Dr. Feinberg suggested Mr. Wu use a rolled towel in his pillowcase. "Since doing that I have not had a reoccurrence of the neck cramps," Mr. Wu said. "I stick to it religiously now."

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