Home » How to Sleep Soundly When You Have Osteoporosis: Finding and Maintaining Proper Sleeping Posture

How to Sleep Soundly When You Have Osteoporosis: Finding and Maintaining Proper Sleeping Posture

by guestpost
8 minutes read

If you’re still unclear on whether or not good posture is important, ask someone who has osteoporosis.

People who suffer from osteoporosis have lower bone density or weaker bones. Its effects can make your bones more likely to fracture, change your posture, cause severe back pain, and make it considerably harder for you to walk or even sleep.

While there’s currently no available cure for osteoporosis, there are proven and effective treatments.

Certain lifestyle changes like regular exercise, adopting a calcium and vitamin D-rich diet, and maintaining proper posture at all times can lessen the harm that the disease does to your body.

When it comes to proper posture, we’re not just talking about how you carry yourself when you walk or perform physical activities. Proper posture should be observed at all times, even while you’re asleep.

This is important because approximately a third of our lives are spent lying in bed. And if you can spend that time with your body properly aligned and immobilized, the better your spine can repair itself.

Proper Sleeping Posture Starts with the Correct Ways to Get in and Out of Bed

When you have osteoporosis, it can be easy to strain your back when you’re either getting in or getting out of bed. But you can prevent this by adopting certain methods that can protect your spine.

Whichever of the below method you prefer, it’s important to remember these three things:

  • Always keep your back straight: never slouch forward or twist your spine side-to-side as you’re getting in/out of bed.
  • Take your time. The slower you go, the less likely you’ll do something wrong and hurt yourself.
  • Try all of the methods below at least once. Due to the sometimes unpredictable nature of back pain, some methods may work better for you than others.

METHOD 1: Prone Position

  • Stand side-to-side with your bed while facing the head of the bed.
  • Slowly lower yourself onto the bed by bending your knees. Keep your back straight at all times!
  • Once you’re low enough, bend forward from the hips and put your hands on the bed to support yourself.
  • Lift the leg closest to your bed backwards and onto the bed.
  • Using your arms for support, lower yourself stomach first onto the bed while taking extra care to keep your spine straight.
  • Slowly scoot over and nudge your body further into the bed.
  • Lift the other leg up onto the bed. You should now be in the prone position.
  • Do the *back pain log roll: rolling your entire body to either your back or your side with your shoulders, hips, and knees fully aligned (to ensure spinal alignment).
  • To get out of bed using this same method, start in the prone position and follow this guide in reverse.

METHOD 2: Sitting to Side Sleeping Position

  • Sit down on the middle of your bed, closest to where your hips will be when you’re lying down to sleep.
  • While keeping your back straight and your shoulders and hips squarely aligned, lower yourself onto the head of the bed using your arms for support. Lower yourself enough until you can rest on the bed with your elbow.
  • Slowly lift your legs one by one onto the bed while adjusting for support by moving your elbow and arms. As you do this, tighten your stomach for better back support.
  • With your entire body in bed, you can lower yourself down onto the side sleeping position.
  • If you want to get on your back, just do the *back pain log roll towards that position.
  • Get out of bed with this method by starting in the side sleeping position and following this guide backwards.

METHOD 3: Helping Another Person to Get In/Out of Bed

As you’ve noticed, these methods are mostly about maneuvering the body while keeping it aligned and supporting the back. It’s much easier to do all that when another person is assisting the patient.

  • Let the patient sit in the middle of the bed.
  • They will basically need to follow METHOD 2 while you’re providing support using your arms. Always keep both of your backs straight! It’s easier to do this when you’re in proper lifting form.
  • Put one arm on the patient’s upper back and your other arm under their legs. Apart from maintaining proper spinal alignment, the patient should also tighten their stomach for better support.
  • Simultaneously support the patient’s upper body as it lowers down onto the bed while lifting the patient’s legs up onto the bed. Do this in a slow but consistent motion.
  • As the patient does the *back pain log roll towards their back or other side, use your hands to help them lift their legs and maintain proper alignment.
  • Help the patient get out of bed by following this guide in reverse.

Check this out if you want to see these 3 methods in action:

(via #physicaltherapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck)

Proper Sleeping Posture is All About Proper Alignment and Pillow Support

There’s no single best sleeping position that works for everyone with osteoporosis or chronic back pain. Whether you prefer side sleeping or lying on your back, what’s important is that your entire spine gets full support.

And the easiest way to do this is by using pillows and rolled-up bed sheets/towels.

How to Sleep on Your Side with Proper Support

  • A large pillow can be placed in between your knees and legs for lower back support.
  • Your head pillow must allow your neck vertebrae to remain in a neutral/straight position.
  • Optional: take a rolled up bed sheet, put it around your waist, and use a clip to hold it there. This will allow you to sleep on your side while supporting the gap between your stomach and the bed when in this position.

How to Sleep on Your Back with Proper Support

  • A large pillow can be placed under your knees to keep the back supported. An even better way to do this would be to place an ottoman or wide stool on the bed and put your legs on it.
  • Your head pillow must allow you to lie on your back while your neck vertebrae remains neutral/straight.
  • Optional: roll up a small towel and put it under your neck for better support.
  • Optional: The rolled up bed sheet clipped on the waist can also provide support for the small of your back while in this position.

It’s generally a good idea to have a bunch of large and small pillows, towels, and bed sheets for the sole purpose of properly supporting yourself while asleep in bed.

Just remember to do the *back pain log roll whenever you feel like shifting sleeping positions. Not following this maneuver when shifting in bed can lead to twisting/misaligning your spine.

(via #physicaltherapists Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck)

Do Not Sleep in the Prone Position if you Have Osteoporosis

Sleeping with your stomach facing the bed is a bad idea in general, and it’s possibly the worst idea if you have a condition that makes your bones weaker and prone to fracture.

Observe Proper Sleep Hygiene to Sleep Better

Sleep hygiene is all about habits that can help you get to sleep much easier and avoid waking up in the middle of the night.

While experts advice everyone to observe proper sleep hygiene, it’s even more important for people who deal with chronic pain. Here are some sleep hygiene practices that you can adopt:

  • Observe how much caffeine affects your body and use it accordingly. If you can handle some caffeine in your system, feel free to drink it, just never too close to bedtime.
  • Exercise for about 150 minutes per week: studies show how doing this can increase the quality of the sleep you get by 60%. Of course, don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
  • Hydrate properly throughout the day so you can not afford to not drink any water an hour before bedtime.
  • Expose yourself to bright and natural light when you wake up and as bed time gets closer, reduce the amount of light in your environment. Sleep in complete darkness.
  • Try to get your eyes off your laptop and your phone hours before bedtime.
  • Set a consistent sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Only go to bed when you’re ready to either sleep or have sex – the only two things you should be using your bed for. Don’t work or do anything mentally stimulating on the bed. Get out of bed if you can’t really sleep. Following this will strengthen the way your mind associates your bed with sleep and relaxation.
  • Treat your bedroom like a sleep oasis. Try relaxing scents. Block outside light with blackout curtains. Keep your sheets fresh, clean, and inviting. Make sure you have a nice, firm mattress that knows how to treat your back. Do everything you can to make your bedroom as sleep friendly as possible.

Living with osteoporosis can be hard. But with the right lifestyle changes, you can make the experience much, much more manageable.

Author: Rienzi Mosqueda

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Max Jones June 19, 2017 - 8:21 pm

I’m glad that you mentioned that there isn’t a particular sleeping position for everyone with osteoporosis. My grandma has suffered with osteoporosis for a while, and always talks about sleeping poorly. I’m going to have to see if we can try and help her adjust sleeping positions, and see if that helps her with her osteoporosis! Thank you!

THJS June 20, 2017 - 8:37 am

Thank you Max! Hope your grandma gets better.

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