Top Tips On How To Sleep With A Slipped Disc

05 March, 2018

If you have a herniated (also inaccurately known as a slipped) disc, sleeping can be extremely difficult and uncomfortable. Many find that they get less sleep than they would like to which in turn can affect your recovery. And if the back pain wasn’t bad enough, feeling exhausted too? That’s a recipe for a bad mood.

Below are my top tips for the best way to sleep to look after your spine.

  • Sorry front sleepers! The best positions to try with a slipped disc are either on your back or on your side. Sleeping on your front can be problematic even for a healthy spine so avoid this!
  • If sleeping on your side, try putting a pillow between your knees to ensure your spine is in a neutral position and you don’t sneakily roll onto your front in the night!
  • If sleeping on your back, try placing a pillow under your knees so they are slightly bent. This will take the pressure off your lower back and allow the disc to heal.
  • Be persistent! If you wake up in the night in a completely different position to the one you fell asleep in, make sure you return to a good position before going back to sleep. You’ll be glad you did so in the morning.
  • If the herniated disc is in your neck, ensure your neck is in a neutral position and supported by your pillow. Your head should not be bent or turned to either side
  • It’s not you, it’s your mattress! Aside from sleeping position, your mattress could be contributing to the problem. Although there is no one mattress that will suit every person with a bad back, a medium-firm mattress is usually the best option for your spine. One that is too firm with put pressure on your back and joints and one that is too soft will not provide enough support. If your mattress is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it.


If despite these tips you are still in a lot of pain and having difficulty sleeping, then it may be time to seek professional help. If in doubt, get it checked out!


by Emma Kenton – Doctor of Chiropractic