The Optimized Gentleman

The Best Sleeping Position For Muscle Growth – Our Top 5 Picks:

Sleep helps your body repair, and is particularly needed after heavy workout sessions. But one thing you may not have considered, is how sleeping posture can impact your sleep quality! And in turn, your muscle growth. That’s why in this article, we’ll reveal the best sleeping position for muscle growth!

After continuous study, sleeping flat on your back is the best-known position for muscle growth. Face the ceiling, supporting your knees with a pillow. Fill any gaps between your body and the mattress for additional support, and to optimize your sleep quality. This helps your muscles repair quickly.

This sleeping posture may not be your favorite, and that’s fine! But let’s look at many different sleeping positions and how you can optimize them for ultimate muscle growth.

What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Muscle Growth? Here Are Our 5 Picks For Optimal Recovery:

This is a topic with a lot of confusion, because of how unique your sleeping patterns are. In this post, we’ll dissect some of the most favorable muscle-supporting sleep positions, when it comes to relaxation of muscle tissue, organ position, and more!

1. Sleeping On Your Back (With Knee Support)

This sleeping position is usually considered the gold standard, when it comes to your back muscle health.


Your weight will be distributed across the length of your body while you sleep – with minimal pressure points. Your head, neck, and spine will be properly aligned, so you can fall into a deep, restorative sleep.

This sleeping position optimizes your sleep quality and is excellent for muscle growth and recovery.

If you need extra support while sleeping in this position, place a pillow under your knees. This way, you’ll maintain your spine’s natural curve.

Tips For Sleeping In This Muscle-Building Position:

  • Lie down on your back & ensure your head directly faces the ceiling,
  • Place a pillow under your head/neck for support,
  • Position a small pillow under your knees,
  • Be sure to fill any gaps between your body and the mattress with pillows, for additional support – i.e. the gap under your lower back (lumbar)

2. Sleeping On Your Side, With a Pillow In-Between Your Knees

This position is comfortable, and many people lie on their sides while sleeping…

If you sleep on your side, you should always place a firm pillow in-between your knees. This helps stabilize your position and protect the curvature of your spine.

This way, your upper leg is raised, restoring the natural alignment of your pelvis, hips, and spine. The result is usually improved sleep quality, and optimal muscle growth and recovery in men.

Tips For Sleeping In This Muscle-Building Position:

  • Turn to your favorite side in your bed,
  • Place a pillow under your head/neck for support, and
  • Pull your knees up slightly, and put a firm pillow between them

If you need additional support, you can fill any gaps between your body and the mattress with pillows or sheets. Or, try hugging your pillow while sleeping on your side to help keep your back aligned.

3. Sleeping in the Fetal Position

This curled up position is suitable for people with herniated discs, or other back troubles. It helps bring relief while you’re lying on your bed at night.

If you’ve got back pain or persistent issues, a comprehensive muscle-building program, and recovery protocol can help you get stronger, pain-free, and back to normal.

Think holistically – from start to finish.

When you lie on your side and tuck your knees toward your chest, the bending of your spine aligns naturally, and your joints open up. Especially helpful for those stuck in a chair at work all day… this reverses the curve of your lumbar to the opposite.

Another secret before bed is to apply Child’s Pose, borrowing from yogic practice.


This pre-sleep stretch releases tension, makes you more comfortable, and improves your sleep quality. That’s why coupling it with this third position helps relieve back pain and muscle recovery at the same time!

Tips For Sleeping In This Muscle-Building Position:

  • Choose your favorite side to lie on in bed,
  • Place a pillow under your head for support,
  • Pull your knees up towards your chest, until your back becomes aligned & straight,
  • Add in Child’s Pose (Balasana) to increase deep muscle relaxation during sleep

4. Sleeping On Your Front (With Support)

This sleeping position is actually the worst of the five (for muscle recovery)unless you sleep without a head pillow. In this case, it keeps your spine straight as an arrow, and can even support your neck.

We’ve included this position here, incase you’re having difficulties sleeping in other postures.

Just place a thin pillow underneath your stomach and hips, to help improve your spinal alignment. This position isn’t the best for optimizing muscle growth, but it may have benefits for those with degenerative disc disease.

This sleeping posture should usually be avoided. Why? Because it twists your spine, adding extra stress to your shoulders, neck, and traps – all of which can harm muscle growth.

Unless… you optimize it to improve your sleep quality in a few ways (like removing the head pillow). Or, placing a pillow underneath your stomach while lying face down, to even your spine.

Tips For Sleeping In This Muscle-Building Position:

  • Get into bed and lie on your frontside,
  • Remove your head/neck pillow to lie flat, and place a thin stomach pillow underneath to support your spine,
  • Consider placing a firm pillow under your forehead to enable enough room for breathing between your mouth, neck, and the mattress

5. Sleeping On Your Back, In A Reclined Position

Although this sleeping position isn’t the best of the five for muscle growth, it’s very beneficial to those with lower back pain. Most O.G.’s will be building a business of some sort, and if they’re savvy – it’ll be all online.

But these online work postures are far from ideal, especially if you don’t get much other mobility movement throughout the day!

Sleeping in a reclined position can provide relief for people with such conditions. If this case applies to you, choose a custom position on your back, while supporting the areas that let you sleep easier.

In this case, it’s more about relaxing and reclining, to optimize for deep sleep… which drastically assists your muscle growth.

“How Do I Improve My Sleep Quality?”

As we covered earlier, the quality of your sleep can significantly impact your muscle growth. So, it’s crucial to learn how to optimize it!

1. Reduce Nighttime Blue Light Exposure

Light exposure during the night has adverse effects on your sleep quality…

It has a way of impacting your circadian rhythm, causing the brain to think it’s still daytime. It lowers your melatonin levels, a hormone that helps you sleep deeply.

You can reduce your nighttime blue light exposure by decreasing your screen time during this period. There are other ways that you can do it, such as:

  • Wearing blue-blocker nighttime glasses,
  • Turning off all bright lights & stop watching TV two hours before going to bed,
  • Download an app that blocks blue light on your phone. These apps are available for both Android and iPhones – Apple’s “night shift” negates the need for another app.

2. Increase Your Daytime Light Exposure

Daylight exposure has many important benefits, including better sleep quality. Your circadian rhythm serves as a natural clock that tells your body the time to sleep or stay awake.

It works optimally when getting bright light, and natural sunlight each day.

A healthy circadian rhythm improves your daytime energy, nighttime sleep duration, and quality. Daytime light exposure can even benefit people who suffer from insomnia. It enhances sleep quality and reduces the time it takes for you to fall asleep.

You can increase your nighttime sleep duration significantly by simply getting enough daylight.

This way, you’ll get enough quality sleep and optimize your muscle growth. It doesn’t matter whether or not you have sleep issues; anyone can enhance their sleep quality by increasing their daylight exposure.

If you can’t get enough natural light during the day, buy some different bulbs. Bright artificial lighting can also help you improve your sleep quality.

These tweaks can help to readjust and optimize your natural circadian rhythm.

3. Do NOT Consume Caffeine Late in the Day (After About 5 PM)

Many people consume caffeine every day, thanks to its many benefits. You can boost your energy, focus, sports performance, and pain tolerance with just a single dose (~150mg)!

So, obviously it’s not advisable to drink caffeine of any sort, when you want to relax or sleep. It blocks adenosine, preventing your body from feeling tired, aiding recovery, and rebuilding muscle.

Taking caffeine at night (or afternoon for some) also stimulates your nervous system, preventing you from relaxing or sleeping deeply at night.


Avoid consuming anything that contains caffeine at least six hours before you sleep.

It can impair your sleep quality and, in turn, your muscle growth. Since caffeine has a half life (the time it take for half of the drug to leave your body) of about five hours…

… it’s advisable not to drink coffee any later than about 5 p.m. This applies doubly to people with existing sleep-deprivation or insomnia issues.

Sometimes, you may crave coffee in the evening. In this case, just opt for decaf.

4. Avoid Prolonged Or Irregular Daytime Napping

There’s nothing wrong with taking short power naps…

But ironically, extended, irregular daytime napping can negatively impact your sleep quality.

Yep, you can sleep too much, and wake up even more tired! When you sleep during the day, you confuse your internal clock (circadian rhythm), causing you to experience trouble sleeping at night.

So yes, taking naps during the day can even make you sleepier.

It’s best practice to take daytime naps that are no longer than 20-30 minutes, termed “power naps”.

This way, you’ll not only enhance your daytime brain function, but you’ll also optimize your nighttime sleep quality. And with improved sleep quality, your muscles can thrive and grow under optimal resting conditions.

For some guys, a regular daytime nap doesn’t affect nighttime sleep quality.

So if you’re among such lucky fellas, you don’t have to worry about your sleep quality being compromised, due to daytime napping. And of course, the effects of daytime napping may vary depending on the individual.

Conclusion To Our Top 5 Best Sleeping Positions For Muscle Growth

You should experiment with your sleeping positions and muscle recovery results frequently.

While sleeping on your back (with knee support) seems to be the gold standard, you may find it hard to fall asleep in this position. Keep these pointers in mind:

  • Lie down on your back, with your head facing the ceiling,
  • Place a pillow under your head or neck for support,
  • Keep your spine aligned with your head and neck (with the right sized pillow)
  • Position a small pillow under your knees, and fill any gaps between your body and the mattress with pillows for additional support – i.e. the gap under your lower back (lumbar)

And no matter what your favorite sleeping posture is, you should always consider your highest comfort while sleeping. Finding the best sleeping position for muscle growth is more of a marathon, than a sprint.

We’ve given you our science-backed approach, but it’s up to you to find your comfort zone and get the best results. After all, more comfort means better sleep quality, which in turn means better muscle growth, Gent!


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