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The best sleeping positions that experts recommend for back pain, acid reflux, and more

INSIDER reports on the best sleeping positions according to experts including HSS physiatrist George Cyril, MD, FAAPMR, to relieve musculoskeletal pain and back pain from sleeping the wrong way.

Sleeping on your back will counteract the effects of slouching forward over a desk most of the day, by opening up the shoulders and pecs. Dr. Cyril suggested sleeping with a flat pillow, moldable pillow, or neck roll, to make this sleeping position more comfortable. Additionally, placing a firm pillow under your knees will eliminate pressure on your spine and hip joints, he noted.

Sleeping on your side might help those with certain medical conditions get a better night’s sleep. Dr. Cyril explained there is evidence that show sleeping on your left side can reduce stomach and bowel problems (e.g., acid reflux), possibly because the esophageal sphincter muscle — which separates the stomach and esophagus and prevents acid reflux when closed – is able to relax more. Additionally, for those with back pain that is exacerbated by walking or standing, Dr. Cyril recommended sleeping on your side with your knee towards the chest to help alleviate the pain. A firm mattress will provide full support for your body without stressing the joints, said Dr. Cyril. Otherwise, you can experiment with pillow placement (e.g., a firm pillow between the legs to alleviate pressure on the low back, hips, and knees; or below the waist to prevent sinking into a soft mattress), he added.

Read the full article at Insider.com.