How Does An Incorrect Sleeping Posture Affect Health?

A normal, healthy person spends 7-8 hours during sleep, which is absolutely necessary. Lack of sleep and improper sleeping patterns cause many health issues. Incorrect sleeping posture is a common cause of many aches and muscle spasms. The primary cause of sleeping in the wrong position is generally a pillow that does not match a person’s specific physical needs or offers inadequate support.

Common problems that people face because of sleeping in the wrong position are mentioned here.


1. Morning Headaches

Incorrect sleeping posture can cause morning headache

Morning headaches are common to most people. During sleep, the neck muscles must be relaxed. The spine is like a spring that periodically needs to uncoil and this is achieved by relieving the weight of the head, which happens only when we sleep. If your neck muscles are not properly relaxed, it can cause a headache just at the base of your skull. The combination of bed firmness, the density and size of your pillow, and your body weight are all critical and all of these factors must match to prevent morning headaches.


2. Excessive Sneezing

Incorrect sleeping posture can cause excessive sneezing

Waking up with a stuffy nose, blocked sinuses, and constant sneezing is a common complaint that many people face. If your bed or pillow is old and full of dust mites and other microscopic allergens, it may result in allergic sneezing and sinuses become clogged.


Most pillows are manufactured from petroleum-based foam. Synthetic pillows are sprayed with fire retardant and anti-bacterial chemicals to meet fire safety standards. Anyone who is even slightly sensitive to chemicals can be affected after sleeping on such pillows.

3. Jaw Pain

Incorrect sleeping posture can cause jaw pain


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most used joints in the body. It is made up of the jaw muscles that keep the jaw bones aligned and allow free movement of the jaws. They also provide the necessary force for biting, chewing, or clamping down.

Some people complain waking up to pain on one side of the head or in their jaw, which is mostly due to wrong sleeping posture. Sleeping on a pillow that is too firm can result in you waking up with pain in the jaws. A firm pillow doesn’t allow your jaw muscles to relax and release the built up tension. Ensure that your pillow has adequate support without being too firm and unyielding.


4. Stiff Neck

Incorrect sleeping posture may lead to a stiff neck

Torticollis or a stiff neck, also called a “duck neck”, is another common problem that occurs because of an incorrect sleeping posture or an ineffective pillow. A stiff neck is a painful condition that makes it hard for you to move your head or neck. It occurs when the large muscles that support your head go into a spasm.


It usually occurs on one side restricting your ability to rotate or move your neck. A stiff neck is caused due to insufficient support for the neck muscles. If your mattress and pillow are old, they may gradually lose their support until they finally offer no support at all. Replacing the old, worn out mattress and pillow with a quality mattress and a pillow made specifically for neck pain can prevent a stiff neck.

5. Sleep Apnea And Snoring

Wrong sleeping posture can cause sleep apnea and snoring


Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. Sleeping with your body aligned and proper neck support to prevent you from rolling onto your chest is one method to overcome this problem.

An effective way to prevent sleep apnea is to keep the throat supported and open. This will prevent your tongue from falling back into your throat and forcing you to breathe through your nose. Snoring is actually the noise from your tongue vibrating in your throat.

6. Morning Stiffness And Back Pain

Incorrect sleeping posture can cause morning stiffness and back pain

Many people often experience stiffness and pain in the lower back region that usually subsides after you move around. The combination of the right bed, a pillow that suits your physiology, and sleeping in the proper position can help reduce these symptoms by more than 30%. Ensure that you sleeping with your body aligned and that your neck is well supported. This prevents you from rolling onto your chest and can make a huge difference to your sleeping posture.

Pillow Talk

Various types of pillows are available in the market but select a pillow that offers the best support. The basic rule is to find a pillow that maintains your neck in a neutral position. Here are a few types of pillows to choose from.

  • Orthopedic pillows: These pillows are designed to maintain the natural curve of your neck.
  • Feather pillows: The old-fashioned feather pillow is a good choice provided you aren’t allergic to down or other feathers. These pillows can be molded to fit the shape of your head and offer less resistance than foam.
  • Cervical pillows: These are roll-shaped pillows designed to relieve neck stress and neck pain by maintaining the natural shape of your head and neck during sleep.
  • Water-filled pillows: Water pillows support your neck by absorbing and redistributing weight. A water pillow can be customized for the amount of support it provides by increasing or decreasing the quantity of the water it contains.