Home / Blog May 24, 2024

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What Exactly Is The Soldier Sleeping Position?

The soldier position is not as common as side sleeping and back sleeping, but it’s still attractive to a handful of sleepers. This blog discusses the ins and outs of this “army” pose, including whether or not it appears desirable to specific types of personalities!

Soldier Sleeping Position


The soldier position promotes spinal alignment and minimizes pressure points.

Sleepers with persistent back pain may benefit the most from the army sleeping pose.

It’s best to prop yourself up a little by using supportive pillows when in this position. 

Did you know?
The famous physicist character Dr. Sheldon Cooper, from The Big Bang Theory, is shown sleeping in the soldier position in several scenes throughout the series!

The soldier position, also known as the “army pose” and “military pose”, is a curious posture adopted by a few sleepers. Whether you’re a nap enthusiast looking for positions with less tossing and turning or simply a reader looking to maximize your ZzZs knowledge… this blog is for you!

Let’s dive in!

What is the Soldier Position?

The soldier sleeping position is when you lie on your back with your arms straight and close to each of your sides, while your legs also remain straight and close together. This position resembles a soldier’s posture when standing still, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the “military pose” or “army pose”.

Although less common than other positions like side sleeping and back sleeping, the soldier position offers several benefits when properly executed. Let’s discuss these advantages in the next section!

What are the Benefits of the Soldier Position?

Here are a few reasons some sleepers opt for the army pose when napping:

Spinal Alignment

When you sleep like a soldier, your body maintains an upright position, meaning that your spine stays aligned while you rest. You see, your spine is happiest when in this neutral position, unlike in other sleeping postures where it could potentially be twisted and turned. So by maintaining a straight spine in the soldier position, your neck and back muscles can also relax, ensuring that you don’t wake up feeling all cranky and in pain.

Reduced Acid Reflux

If your upper body is slightly elevated when in the soldier position, the acid in your stomach will easily stay where it belongs! By propping yourself up with a pillow or two, gravity works in your favor, keeping that pesky acid from creeping back up into your esophagus and causing that burning sensation in your chest. This way, you can sleep throughout the night without worrying about acid reflux stealing your ZzZs.

Preventing Facial Wrinkles

You might not realize it, but the way you sleep can actually affect the appearance of your skin. When you smoosh your face into the pillow night after night, you’re essentially asking for those sleep wrinkles to make themselves at home. But when you sleep on your back like a soldier, you’re giving your face some breathing room – literally. By avoiding that constant pressure on your skin, you’re helping to prevent those fine lines and wrinkles from taking up residence on your face.

Minimized Neck and Shoulder Strain

Ever wake up feeling like you just went a few rounds with a heavyweight boxer? Yeah, we’ve all been there. The good news is that the soldier position can help minimize those aches and pains in your neck and shoulders. See, when you sleep on your back with your arms at your sides, your weight is evenly distributed across your body. That means less strain on your neck and shoulders, so you can wake up feeling refreshed instead of sore.

Improved Breathing

If you experience sleep apnea symptoms like loud snoring, you might want to give the elevated soldier position a try. Sleeping with your back slightly elevated opens up your airways, making it easier for air to flow in and out of your lungs. So you can breathe more freely throughout the night and experience the benefits of diaphragmatic breathing such as reduced stress and an improved mood.

Enhanced Circulation

Good circulation is key to keeping your body happy and healthy. And guess what? The soldier position can help with that too. When your body is in a straight and open posture, blood can flow more freely to all your vital organs and tissues. So you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and rejuvenated, unlike with side sleeping, from which some sleepers report numbness in arms and legs after waking up.

In spite of all these benefits, the army pose is not all sunshine and rainbows though. So in the next section, let’s look at the downsides of sleeping like a soldier.

sleeping with bearaby bolster pillow

What are the Disadvantages of the Soldier Position?

Here are some reasons why the soldier position doesn’t come highly recommended:

Increased Snoring Risk

While sleeping on your back in the soldier position may promote better breathing for some, it can exacerbate snoring for others. If you lie completely flat, this army-like sleep position may cause your tongue to fall back into the throat, leading to airway obstruction and increased snoring during sleep. If you’re prone to snoring or have sleep apnea, you may find that adopting the soldier position worsens your nighttime breathing patterns.

Facial Edema

Sleeping on your back can sometimes lead to fluid retention in the face, especially if you’re prone to allergies or sinus congestion. In the soldier position, gravity may cause fluid to accumulate in the facial tissues overnight, resulting in facial edema or puffiness upon waking. This can be particularly noticeable around the eyes and cheeks, detracting from a refreshed appearance in the morning.

Risk of Sleep Paralysis

Some people may experience episodes of sleep paralysis, a temporary inability to move or speak upon waking or falling asleep. Sleeping on your back in the soldier position may increase the likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis, as this posture can make it easier for the body to transition into REM sleep, during which these episodes are more common

Exacerbation of Acid Reflux

While elevating the head can help prevent acid reflux in some sleepers, others may find that sleeping in the soldier position worsens their symptoms. For sleepers with severe acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), lying flat on the back may allow stomach acid to more easily flow into the esophagus, leading to heartburn and discomfort during sleep. Adjusting the sleeping position to a slight incline or sleeping on the side may offer better relief for those prone to acid reflux

Next, let’s look at what groups of sleepers are most likely to enjoy the military sleeping pose.

Who is the Soldier Position Best For?

This army-like sleeping pose could be a potential posture to try if you fall under any of the following categories:

Sleepers Who Snore

If you’re tired of hearing complaints about your snoring, the elevated version of the soldier sleeping position might just be your ticket to a quieter night’s sleep. By lying on your back with your head slightly elevated, you’re helping to open up your airways and reduce snoring. It’s worth a try if you’re looking for a simple way to make bedtime a bit more peaceful for you and your bed partner, or people who sleep in close proximity to you.

People with Acid Reflux Symptoms

If you’re all too familiar with that uncomfortable burning sensation of acid reflux, the soldier position could offer some relief. By keeping your head elevated above your stomach, you’re less likely to experience those annoying reflux episodes during the night. So if you’re tired of reaching for the antacids before bed, give the army pose a shot and see if it helps calm your symptoms.

Those Seeking Facial Skin Benefits

We all want to keep our skin looking young and fresh, right? Well, sleeping like a soldier might just help you do that. By avoiding squishing your face into the pillow night after night, you’re giving your skin a break from those sleep-induced wrinkles.

Sleepers With Persistent Back Pain

Back pain can really put a damper on your day, but the army sleeping pose might help ease those aches and pains. By keeping your spine aligned and supported, you’re less likely to wake up feeling stiff and sore.

At the end of the day (literally), we all just want to get a good night’s rest. By minimizing movement during the night and promoting a stable sleeping posture, the army pose seems like a good position to have a go at. But… should you? Let’s find out in the next section!

Should I Try the Soldier Position?

Wondering if the soldier sleeping position is right for you? It could be – and the only way to know is by trying! But, before attempting the military pose, consider the following factors to ensure it’s suitable and comfortable for you:

1. Personal Comfort: Assess whether sleeping on your back with your arms at your sides is comfortable for you. Some people find this position soothing, while others may find it uncomfortable or even exacerbate certain medical conditions like sleep apnea or snoring.

2. Mattress and Pillow Support: Ensure your mattress and pillows provide adequate support for your back and neck. A supportive mattress can help maintain proper spinal alignment, while the right pillow can provide neck support.

3. Temperature: Sleeping on your back can sometimes lead to overheating, especially if you tend to get warm during the night. Consider your sleeping environment’s temperature and whether you may need to adjust bedding or room temperature for optimal comfort.

Experimentation: Before committing to the soldier sleeping position, try it out for a few nights to see how your body responds. Pay attention to any discomfort or changes in sleep quality and adjust accordingly.

Tips for Sleeping Well in the Soldier Position

Here are some useful tips on how to sleep well in the army pose:

Relax Your Arms and Legs

When adopting the soldier position, make sure to keep your arms relaxed by your sides and your legs slightly apart. This helps maintain proper alignment of your spine and reduces the risk of discomfort or strain during the night.

Utilize a Bolster Pillow for Support

Consider using a bolster pillow under your knees to provide additional support and comfort while sleeping in the soldier position. Our Cuddling, for example, is a satisfyingly-squashy bolster pillow that provides support and comfort for the back, knees, neck, and shoulders. It’s ergonomically designed to mold to your body shape, melting away tension and it’s been approved by the American Chiropractic Association!

Practice Relaxation Techniques Before Bed

Wind down before bedtime by practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or gentle stretching. This can help reduce muscle tension and prepare your body and mind for a restful night's sleep in the army sleeping pose.

Gradually Transition to the Soldier Position

If you’re not accustomed to sleeping on your back, gradually transition to the soldier sleeping position by spending a few minutes in the position each night before increasing the duration. This allows your body to adjust gradually and reduces the likelihood of discomfort or restlessness.

Maintain a Cool and Comfortable Sleep Environment

Keep your bedroom cool and well-ventilated to promote optimal sleep conditions while sleeping in the soldier position. Use breathable bedding materials like our chunky-knit cotton weighted blanket, the Napper. Our Napper is buttery-soft and it’s hand-knit to ensure that you stay snug, without getting too hot while sleeping.

In the next section, let’s look at how you can know that it’s time to give another sleeping position a try, if the military pose is just not working for you.

sleeping with bearaby pillow

When To Choose A Different Sleeping Position

When considering a different sleeping position from the soldier position, prioritize your comfort and address any specific issues you may be experiencing. If you find that sleeping on your back in the soldier position leads to discomfort, such as back pain or snoring, exploring alternative sleeping positions could be beneficial.

Side sleeping positions, such as the fetal or log position, can provide relief by alleviating pressure on the spine and reducing the likelihood of snoring. Additionally, sleeping on your left side may be preferable if you suffer from acid reflux, as this position can help prevent stomach acid from flowing back into the esophagus.

Selecting the right sleeping position is a personal choice that depends on your individual preferences and any specific health concerns you may have. But, could your love for the military pose be hinting at certain personality traits you have? Let’s find out in the next section!

The Soldier Position And Personality

Always keep in mind that there is no solid scientific data to back up the relationship between sleeping postures and personality. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that naturally gravitating towards the army pose often reflects a sense of discipline and orderliness in your life, such that you are:

1. Reliable and Responsible: Others may see you as someone who doesn’t shy away from taking charge when needed, so they can count on you to get the job done efficiently and effectively.

2. Someone With A Strong Sense of Duty: While you may come across as serious at times, you also have dedication to whatever you set your mind to. Your soldier-like sleeping position mirrors your steadfastness and commitment in all aspects of life.

Overall, the soldier sleeping position could be reflecting your disciplined nature and commitment to excellence in everything you do.

Next, let’s look at how you can modify the soldier position to reap more benefits from back sleeping.

Are There Better Variations of the Soldier Position?

Yes! There are variations of this army-like sleeping pose that offer similar benefits, particularly in terms of promoting spinal alignment and reducing pressure on the back. Some of these variations include:

1. Starfish Position: Similar to the soldier position, but with the arms stretched out above the head instead of lying by the sides. The starfish sleeping position can help distribute weight evenly across the body and reduce pressure on the spine.

2. Pillow Under Knees: In this variation, you lie on your back with a pillow placed under the knees. This helps maintain the natural curve of the lower back and reduces strain on the spine, as is the case when you get lumbar support from a bolster pillow.

3. Bolster Your Upper Body: Using multiple pillows strategically placed under the head and neck can mimic the benefits of the soldier sleeping position by promoting proper spinal alignment and reducing pressure points.

4. Using a Body Pillow: Having a full body pillow next to you while sleeping on the back can provide support and prevent rolling onto the side. This variation helps maintain the soldier position throughout the night.


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While these variations may not replicate the army sleeping pose exactly, they offer similar benefits in terms of promoting spinal alignment, reducing pressure on the back, and improving overall sleep quality. Experimenting with different variations can help you find the most comfortable and supportive sleeping position for your needs.


The soldier position offers tons of benefits like promoting spinal alignment and preventing facial wrinkles. On the flip side though, sleeping in this army-like pose can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms and acid reflux, especially if you don’t prop yourself up with a pillow or two. Despite these disadvantages, the military sleeping pose is still worth a try if you’re curious about whether or not it could be right for you!