Sleeping Positions: A Complete Guide & Their Benefits

Sleeping Positions: A Complete Guide & Their Benefits

The position you sleep in affects sleep quality and other health outcomes. Sleepers with different health conditions may prefer sleeping positions that, hopefully, alleviate their pain. 

Between childhood and adulthood, our sleep position preferences change. Children often sleep on their stomachs and backs but may transition to side sleep in adulthood. 

Keep reading as we take a closer look at different sleep positions. We’ll start with the most popular positions (side, back, and stomach) and work our way to some lesser-known options. 

Plus, we’ll talk about how the SONU Sleep System can help you enjoy better rest, no matter what position you sleep in.

Side Position

Side sleeping is the most popular sleeping position among adults. It’s beneficial for people who suffer from health issues like heart disease, sleep apnea, and spine misalignment as well as those who snore. The side position is also recommended for pregnant women.

That said, the side sleeping position can cause joint pain and pain in certain muscles. Shoulder pain, stiffness, and numbness are common among side sleepers — but this is mostly due to the type of mattress they are sleeping on and the way it disrupts the natural curve of the spine. 

If you are a side sleeper, the SONU Sleep System was made for you. With a patented Comfort Channel allowing you to immerse your arm and shoulder into the bed, SONU’s mattress can prevent uncomfortable pain in the arm you sleep on.

The SONU offers the following benefits to side sleepers:

  • Correct neck vertebrae and spine alignment
  • Permit better breathing
  • Alleviate sleep apnea and snoring issues by opening the airways
  • Reduce symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn
  • Eliminate pain in the shoulders and arms
  • Support torso and hips

The SONU Sleep System features a ten-inch deep, patented Comfort Channel that enables sleepers to immerse their arms and shoulders into the mattress. This takes the pressure off the upper extremities, allowing side sleepers to remain in their preferred position all night long without the need to readjust. 

The SONU is also ideal for couples who like to cuddle with each other while they sleep.

Back Position

The back position is the second most popular sleep position. It distributes body weight evenly when people sleep, allowing sleepers to enjoy a neutral position. 

Putting infants to bed on their backs reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

Experts are divided when it comes to back sleeping for lower back pain. Some warn that sleeping on your back can make lower back pain worse. You may be able to reduce the pressure on your lumbar spine by placing a rolled-up towel under your knees.

Sleeping on your back is not recommended for anyone who has sleep apnea. If you sleep on your back while suffering from sleep apnea, your breathing could be disrupted, and you may end up suffering from restlessness. 

Sleeping on your back can become increasingly uncomfortable as you age or your BMI increases. 

Stomach Position

Experts do not recommend sleeping on your stomach. Not only does this position make breathing a little more difficult, but it can cause lower back pain. Your neck can also become strained in this position, and you may find yourself repeatedly turning your head from side to side to get comfortable.

People who sleep on their stomachs tend to toss and turn a lot, which causes restlessness.

If you’re loyal to the stomach sleeping position, you should either sleep on a very soft pillow or just put your head directly on your mattress to prevent neck pain.

Fetal Position

Many adults sleep in the fetal position, which might be surprising. The position where your knees are curled up is more common among women.

Sleeping in the fetal position is a form of sleeping on your side, so it is equally beneficial. Fans of this position include pregnant women, those experiencing heartburn or acid reflux, those suffering from back pain, people with sleep apnea, or people who have limited spinal mobility.

Sleeping in the fetal position has been found to reduce pressure on the heart during pregnancy. 

Your chances of experiencing blockages to your airway or disruptive breathing are decreased when you sleep in the fetal position.

However, you shouldn’t sleep in this position if you are trying to avoid wrinkles; the pressure between your face and pillow increases your risk of developing them. 

Just like regular side sleepers, people who sleep in the fetal position can benefit from the SONU Sleep System’s immersive Comfort Channel. 

Freefall Position

To sleep in the freefall position, you lie on your stomach with your head turned to one side. Your arms are placed up near your head or wrapped around or under a pillow. 

Sadly for freefall sleepers, this position is considered the worst sleeping posture of them all. This is probably due to all the negative ways sleeping on your stomach affects you, like causing upper back pain and lower back pain and strain due to disruptions with the natural alignment of your spine and pelvis.

Soldier Position

The soldier position involves sleeping on your back with your arms by your sides, close to your body. People who sleep in this position don’t change position as often as other sleepers.

Place a rolled towel or small pillow beneath your knees to make this position more comfortable. This will take pressure off your lower back.

Yearner Position

To get into the yearner position, lie on your side with both arms stretched out in front of you. 

Maximize the yearner position by choosing a mattress that cradles your body while you sleep and conforms to your body shape — like the SONU Sleep System.

Starfish Position

If you sleep on your back with your arms up near your head, this is the starfish position. 

As we mentioned, sleeping on your back might not be ideal if you have lower lumbar pain. It’s also not great if you have sleep apnea or acid reflux.

Interestingly, starfish sleepers are more prone to sleepwalking.  

Log Position

This is another side position that involves lying with your body completely straight. Your arms are also straight down by your side, resulting in you sleeping on one of your arms.

Sleeping in the log position is just as beneficial as sleeping in any other side position. However, be aware that you are more likely to experience pain or numbness in your shoulder and arm in this position if you are using a poorly designed mattress.

How Can I Choose a Sleeping Position?

As we age, we place more importance on our sleeping positions. This is likely because we’ve begun experiencing medical issues or other problems that negatively affect our sleep. 

Before you choose a position, you should consider what issues, if any, you want to alleviate or address.

If you experience back pain, spine alignment issues, or neck pain, think about which positions will be the most helpful. It might take a couple of nights of trying different positions until you find the one that is best for your needs.

How Can I Choose a Mattress for My Sleeping Position?

For centuries, people had a limited group of mattresses to choose from — and all of those mattresses were hard and flat. 

That’s not the case anymore.

Today, you can find mattresses that address specific issues. There are mattresses designed with particular sleepers in mind. 

There are mattresses that benefit people who enjoy all sleeping positions, and they feature modern materials that are better suited to the curves of our bodies. 

You don’t have to just opt for a coil spring mattress anymore. Mattresses are made of latex, foam, and gel. You can even find hybrid mattresses that combine two types of materials to create the perfect mattress. Your options are endless — but SONU is at the forefront of them.

What Is the SONU Sleep System?

If you’re dealing with neck or shoulder pain, SONU is here to help. The SONU Sleep System was designed to prevent the aches and pains that many sleepers experience when they sleep on the wrong mattress. 

The SONU, or the negative space mattress, is an original concept. The mattress is made from 26 layers of foam, and the top layer is made of plush, serene foam, one of the best materials to keep you cool as you sleep. 

Within the mattress is a ten-inch Comfort Channel where sleepers can place their shoulders and arms while they sleep, taking all the pressure off the joints that are typically stuck under their body weight when they sleep on their sides. 

The mattress provides a sink-in support system that doesn’t make you feel stuck like mattresses made of materials like memory foam. Instead, this sink-in system lets sleepers enjoy their full range of motion, body-cradling support, and balanced comfort that helps them maintain their sleeping position throughout the night.

The SONU comes with Support Pillows that fit snugly in the Comfort Channel, which you can wrap your arms around without causing any discomfort to your upper body.

The SONU is popular with side sleepers, but people who enjoy sleeping in various positions have given the mattress very high ratings. 


Most people have a favorite sleeping position, while other people would rather alternate between a few different sleeping positions. 

Whether you’re faithful to one position or like to change it up from time to time, you’ll want to make sure you have a bed that provides pressure relief, motion control, and a host of other factors. Most importantly, the right mattress will help relieve or prevent any pain or sleep issues you might experience.

If you feel overwhelmed by the number of mattresses available, don’t be. Once you have a list of criteria that you require to provide you with the best sleep experience, you can easily narrow down your options. You don’t even have to go to a physical store; you can pick a mattress from the comfort of your home and have it delivered in record time.

SONU has worked hard to address the discomfort sleepers feel when they sleep on poorly made, flat mattresses. The SONU Sleep System was designed to provide pressure relief and pain prevention for the average sleeper. 

If you’re ready to upgrade your bedroom and start having the best sleep of your life, try the SONU Sleep System. Join other sleepers just like you and fall in love with the most efficient bed you’ll ever sleep on.


What is the most popular sleeping position?

The side position is the most popular among adult sleepers, and the SONU Sleep System can help alleviate concerns of arm and shoulder pain resulting from this position.

I like to sleep on my back, but I experience back pain. What can I do?

You can either change your sleeping position, change your mattress to one meant for back sleepers, or place something under your knees for support while you sleep. 

I like to sleep in a variety of positions. Is the SONU a good mattress for me?

Yes! The SONU is perfect for all sleepers who want a mattress that will take pressure off of their joints and support their spines while they sleep.


Sleep positions and nocturnal body movements based on free-living accelerometer recordings: association with demographics, lifestyle, and insomnia symptoms | NIH

The Best Sleeping Positions |

Sleep Positions | The Better Sleep Council

Sleeping in the Fetal Position | Sleep Foundation

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Thank YOU! Best mattress out there.
After being a gymnast for 15 years, I haven't felt this much relief from the pain in my shoulders and my hips while sleeping!! Thank you!
Steph C.
Highly recommended!
Creates the perfect space for your arm if you're a side sleeper. Changed the way I sleep forever.
Justin S.
So I actually own one of these. It's AMAZING. Yes it will take you a few weeks to get "used" to it... But that said, you will be AMAZED at how great your shoulders feel in the morning. Just unreal. Like sleep a full 8 hours without waking up type of sleep.
Jason R.
Buffalo, NY
I have very bad neck and back issues and this mattress is a dream! If you are a side sleeper you will love it and even if you like to sleep on you back you will love it! Very comfortable and totally worth the money!
Grace L.
i have suffered from shoulder pain while sleeping for several years, i had just about given up... then i saw this bed and decided one last try. i can't begin to explain what it feels like to sleep through an entire night... for the first time in 20 years the first weekend i had it. I'm so impressed with this bed... because what they are making is making a difference in people's lives.
Crystal G.
Lives up to the hype
This comfort channel they made is next level. I never imagined that I would be able to put my arm in the mattress. Takes all the pressure off my shoulder, which I so so need. YES
Kim J.
Highly recommended!
I’m a side sleeper and I used to wake up with a dead feeling arm from lying on it all night. Finally a mattress with a pocket for my arm. I tried all the pillows and even very expensive mattresses in the past, but nothing cured my circulation problems until I got the sonu sleep mattress. I love it!
Nic D.
Chicago, IL
...Sonu mattresses are in a league all by themselves. This is the most comfortable bed I have ever slept on. I have no more shoulder pain and numbness. I can now sleep through the night and not wake up in pain. If anyone is even thinking about getting a Sonu sleep system don’t think anymore. Pull that trigger. I 100% gaurentee you will not be disappointed.
Christopher B.
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