How to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt - Upright Health

How to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt

How should you sleep if you have anterior pelvic tilt? If you sleep in the wrong position with anterior pelvic tilt, will it make your tilt worse? If you sleep in a good position, will it make it better?

In this article we're going to talk about how to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt, and we've also got a video to help you figure it all out quickly!

What is anterior pelvic tilt?

standing with anterior tilt

Anterior tilt is when the front of your pelvis is tipped towards the floor. It's not a disease. It's not a terrible orthopedic condition.

It just means certain muscles are positioning your pelvis so that the front end is lower than ideal.

This makes your low back more arched than ideal. You end up with a big curve in your low back, known as hyperlordosis.

Hyperlordosis, again, isn't some terrible disease or condition. It just means your lower spine is more curved than is ideal.

What is neutral pelvic position?

Neutral pelvis position means being able to control the spine and pelvis position so you don't get compression in the low back and movement issues in the hip joints.

The "ideal" pelvic position for every individual is hard to define. You can't just say that it's "x number of degrees at this position" or "when this bone is 2 cmm lower than this position."

People's pelvic bones are shaped differently. In fact, your own pelvis is almost guaranteed to be asymmetrical when you compare the two sides. 

Basically, it's impossible to give specific measurements that work for every individual. 

We operate from the idea that you should be able to position and stabilize your pelvis in whatever position you need to stabilize it in. 

If you're already in anterior pelvic tilt, you want to be able to engage your abs, hamstrings, and glutes to position the pelvis a bit more in posterior tilt - AND KEEP IT THERE without feeling like you're using all your mental and physical energy to do so.

How does sleeping position affect anterior pelvic tilt?

Pelvic tilt is all about muscles. And muscles get good at whatever you train them to do.

If you constantly put your pelvis into anterior tilt, your muscles get good at functioning in that posture. 

Your muscles then become bad and getting you OUT of that anterior tilt posture.

If you sleep with your pelvis in anterior tilt, then your muscles are going to spend the entire night getting good at anterior tilt. 

Why do that to yourself when you can make some simple changes to improve your anterior tilt while you sleep?

If you spend eight hours sleeping, that's eight hours of anterior pelvic tilt training.  That's why it's important to learn how to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt. 

If you can put your pelvis in a neutral position overnight, it will help your muscles learn to maintain that better position in the day (though it will not permanently fix all your anterior pelvic tilt problems - more on that later). 

How to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt

Watch this quick video for a demonstration of proper sleeping position for back and stomach sleepers who have anterior pelvic tilt.  

If you want to improve your anterior tilt while you sleep, you need to focus on putting your pelvis more into a neutral position. 

If you tend to sleep on your back, the simplest trick is to put a pillow or blanket under your knees. This puts your anteriorly tilted pelvis back into neutral. 

If you tend to sleep on your stomach, you can put that pillow or blanket under your hips to reduce the curvature of your low back. 

And if you tend to sleep on your side, just pay attention to how you've positioned yourself. Most side sleepers will tend to go to the fetal position with the knees tucked up toward the chest, and that's perfect. That actually puts the pelvis and the lumbar spine into a more posterior/neutral position! 

How NOT to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt

As you may have gathered from the HOW TO section above, you don't want to put yourself in a position where you obviously make the anterior tilt WORSE.

For example, if you sleep on your stomach and your stomach sinks into the bed, tipping your low back into lordosis - that's NOT how to sleep with anterior tilt. 

If you sleep on your back and feel like your low back wants to rest with a big arch - that's not a good position. 

Find neutral pelvis positions and get your body used to staying there.

Final words on how to sleep with anterior pelvic tilt

Your ultimate goal should not be to lie in a strictly controlled position all night. Using these anterior tilt sleeping positions teaches your body to find neutral more easily. Sleeping in these positions will not permanently correct your anterior tilt.

To correct anterior tilt, you need to train your muscles to maintain a neutral pelvis position over time. This can require stretching and strengthening, and it can also entail learning how to consciously control pelvis position. 

Anterior pelvic tilt exercises are helpful, but they also need to be paired with lifestyle modifications like these to help you improve your anterior tilt tendencies throughout the day (and night)!

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About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.