3 Best Sleep Position for Lungs: A Comprehensive Guide

Breathing problems are now afflicting people of almost all ages. The rising pollution, lifestyle, and one’s health are some of the primary causes of poor lung condition. Lung problems can be of many kinds, but almost all of them develop breathing problems.

Sleeping positions can increase or decrease this condition considerably. If you do not sleep in the correct position, you may wake up in the middle of the night, gasping for breath. For some, sleeping on the back could aggravate the problem, but for some, that could be the solution.

If you have any lung problems, you need to talk to your doctor about the treatment plan and how the right sleeping position can help. Those who have extreme lung conditions and have to be given oxygen often cannot lie flat on their backs.

Others suffering from conditions like pneumonia can cough a lot through the night, and the right sleeping position can help them find some relief. Hence, determining the right sleeping position according to your condition is crucial.

Lung Disorders that can Cause Breathing Problems

Lung Disorders that can Cause Breathing Problems

Issues of the lungs can be of many types, and whether it will cause breathing problems often depends on the intensity of the illness. Some common lung disorders are as follows.

1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In this condition, breathing may start or sleep during the night, and the patient may wake up gasping for breath.

2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

In COPD, the lungs and airways are sometimes blocked, and the patient coughs or feels shortness of breath.

3. Anxiety

Anxiety and related stress can cause severe tension and make it difficult to breathe, especially right before going to bed.

4. Allergies


Allergies can cause swelling of the nasal passage of the windpipe, and conditions like rhinitis can cause breathing problems.

5. Heart Failure

Consistent lung problems can cause low oxygenation of blood, and when this goes to the heart, it may cause heart problems over time. This, in turn, could lead to fluid build-up in the lungs and cause breathing problems.

Sleeping Positions to Help with Breathing Problems

Sleeping Positions to Help with Breathing Problems

If you have difficulty sleeping at night due to breathing problems, changing sleeping positions can help achieve good sleep. However, it differs from patient to patient, and you have to figure out which one works best for you.

1. Side Sleeping

Side sleeping can help those who snore a lot. It can also reduce back pain. In addition, those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea can also benefit from it, and research shows that it is the best sleeping position in such cases.

However, side sleeping can also add some pressure on your shoulders and neck, so you have to find the right pillow that aligns your spine. Sleeping on the left side keeps your airways free, while sleeping on the right side can help increase oxygen levels in the blood.

2. Stomach Sleeping

Stomach Sleeping

Stomach sleeping can produce mixed results, so you have to experiment a little before you can settle with this position long-term. Stomach sleeping can reduce the breaks in breathing at night to a considerable degree. It can also increase oxygen content in the blood.

However, those with sleep apnea could feel additional pressure on the lungs, so they should first try it for a short while. The right mattresses and pillows are crucial in this case. The pillows should have some open space that keeps the nose and mouth free.

3. Back Sleeping

Back sleeping is not recommended for obstructive sleep apnea, but it can be beneficial for COPD if the head is slightly raised above the body. Raising the head keeps acid reflux at bay and also puts less pressure on the chest muscles.

You can also place a pillow under the knees to lift pressure from the spine. You can also sleep on the back, but tilt your head to the side to reduce sleep apnea.

Factors that can Affect Breathing and Sleeping

Factors that can Affect Breathing and Sleeping

Apart from sleeping positions, there are some other factors that can affect breathing and sleeping. Here are some points to keep in mind.

  • Address your allergies. Allergies that cause you to sniffle or block your airways can make breathing disorders worse.
  • Speak to your doctor about sleep medication if you have insomnia. Worrying about your lug problems lying awake in the dead of night will lead to anxiety and aggravate breathing problems.
  • Always try to prop your head up on a pillow to clear your sinuses.
  • Use a hypoallergenic mattress to reduce bouts of coughing and sneezing.
  • Choose a mattress that can regulate your body temperature and support your spine and rib cage. That will help you sleep comfortably and won’t wake up as much due to breathing issues.
  • Humidity can affect your sleep quality if you have breathing problems. You can use a humidifier to moisten the indoor air. That prevents the drying up of the throat and sinuses and allows you to sleep better.
  • Keeping the humidity between 30 and 50 percent allows you to maintain optimum humidity and prevent mold. Using a humidifier with an air purifier is even better.
  • Maintain a room temperature. Sleeping comfortably can become difficult if it is too hot or too cold. The right temperature can help you get cozy and have less trouble sleeping.
  • Experts recommend setting your room temperature between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also exercise during the day, meditate before going to bed at night, or listen to some relaxing music to help you sleep better.


It is natural to have some questions regarding sleep and lung problems because it is affecting many people across the globe. Here are some answers that can help you.

Can wrong sleeping positions cause lung problems?

No, wrong sleeping positions will not cause lung problems, but they will aggravate any existing issues if you do not rectify them. 
For example, it is best to elevate your torso if you have fluid build-up in the chest. The correct sleeping positions will prevent your symptoms from increasing.

Can sleep hygiene affect lung problems?

Yes, sleep hygiene can affect lung problems. For example, if you are already coughing and wheezing, sleeping on a dirty mattress can cause allergies that may cause you to cough and sneeze more. Or, if you have the wrong mattress, it could prevent proper spine alignment and cause pain in the torso, increasing your symptoms.

Can lung problems improve with adequate sleep?

Yes, lung problems can improve with adequate sleep and treatment. Proper sleep can reduce anxiety and stress and will help you sleep through the night. In addition, you will not wake up gasping for breath or other issues that can worsen the problem. Your overall health will also improve.


Lung problems can be scary, but they can be managed with proper care and treatment. The right sleeping position aligns your major organs in the torso, like the lungs and heart, and can help you lead a healthy life.

Talk to your doctor if you have difficulty falling asleep despite trying various sleeping positions. Invest in a firm mattress and comfortable pillow, and find a position that allows you to sleep through the night with the least discomfort.

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!