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Best Sleeping Position For Peripheral Artery Disease

sleeping position for peripheral artery disease

The Importance Of Sleep Position For PAD

Peripheral artery disease is a chronic medical condition where there is less blood flow to the limbs as the arteries become narrowed because of the accumulation of fatty deposits called plaque. If you have PAD, you may experience constant leg pain, cold feet, and numbness, making it difficult to sleep. So, it is best to consult a vein doctors who will recommend the proper sleeping position for peripheral artery disease.

Peripheral artery disease is one of the most common diseases that affects about 12 to 14% of the population, as per NCBI. There are several causes of PAD peripheral artery disease, such as:

  • Excessive smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Extreme physical strain
  • Age

4 Best Sleeping Positions For Peripheral Artery Disease

People suffering from peripheral artery disease experience leg pain and discomfort for a long time, and if left untreated, it can lead to severe conditions like amputation or even death. Also, this constant pain affects your ability to sleep well. So, here are some of the best peripheral artery disease sleep positions that help in decreasing pain, improving blood circulation, and minimizing the risk of complications.

1. Side-lying Position Or Side Sleeping

If you are suffering from PAD, side sleeping is one of the best and most comfortable peripheral artery disease sleep positions. When you sleep on your side, there will be little to no strain on the blood vessels. Thus, it promotes good blood circulation to your limbs.

If there is sufficient blood flow to your limbs, it helps in decreasing the pain and tingling sensations caused by peripheral artery disease. In addition, this sleeping position helps in keeping your airways open, so there is less chance of suffering from sleep apnea.

To properly sleep on your side, lay on your side and keep your head on a supportive pillow. Make sure that the pillow you use keeps your neck aligned with your spine; if not, you may experience neck strain. Also, put a cushion, foam pad, or a pillow or cushion between your knees to ensure proper alignment of your spine.

Side-lying Position Or Side Sleeping

2. Leg Elevation Position

Leg elevation is another best sleeping position for peripheral artery disease. While sleeping, if your legs are elevated above your heart level, the blood flow from the lower extremities to the heart will decrease. As the blood will not accumulate in your limbs, there will be no swelling or any discomfort. In addition, the blood flow to your leg muscles and tissues will increase.

Sleeping with elevated legs can also give relief from pressure and soothe your muscles if you are suffering from pain caused by peripheral artery disease. If you have an adjustable bed, it is best to raise the bottom area or leg section adequately.

In the case of a normal bed, it is better to place a stack of pillows under your legs. Instead of pillows, you can also use lengthways or foam wedges to keep your legs in an elevated position. This way, you can get instant pressure relief and enhanced blood circulation, allowing you to sleep comfortably.

Leg Elevation Position

3. Back Sleeping Or Supine Position

The back sleeping position, or sleeping on your back, is one of the most common and also the best sleeping position for peripheral artery disease. This is also known as the supine sleeping position, and it distributes your body weight uniformly.

As your weight is distributed evenly while sleeping, it decreases pressure on your blood vessels. Due to that, it increases blood circulation to your limbs and gives instant relief from pain. In addition to that, this peripheral artery disease sleep position reduces neck pressure and enhances your quality of sleep.

In order to sleep in this position, make sure to lie down on your back and put your legs and neck on a supportive pillow. It is advised to bend your knees a little so that you can enjoy a good night’s sleep. Make sure to avoid using too many pillows or a high pillow as it may cause discomfort.

Supine Position

Does The Type Of Pillows And Mattresses Affect Your Sleep?

Using comfortable, high-quality mattresses and pillows can enhance the quality of sleep for people suffering from PAD. Choosing the proper pillow is vital in order to maintain proper alignment of your spinal and boost blood circulation. It is best to acquire an ergonomic pillow that gives immense support to your neck, head, and shoulders. This can relieve pressure on blood vessels and promote blood flow to your limbs.

While sleeping, a good-quality mattress can give sufficient support, relief from pressure, and enhanced circulation. It is recommended to choose a mattress that will disperse your body weight properly, ensure proper spinal alignment, and relieve pressure points. Make sure to get a mattress that can greatly support your legs and hips so that you can sleep comfortably.

For instance, contour pillows and memory foam mattresses are the best for people with peripheral artery disease as they offer the required support and relieve pressure. To conclude, it is best to select a good-quality, ergonomic pillow and mattress that is compatible with your sleeping position and offers sufficient support.

Visit an Advanced Medical Group specialist to get recommendations for the best sleeping position and other treatments that will help improve your PAD condition.

To Wrap It Up

If you are suffering from peripheral artery disease and unable to rest properly, it is best to try the above peripheral artery disease sleep positions. Follow the best sleeping position for peripheral artery disease that you are comfortable with, and it will improve your blood flow to your limbs. This ultimately reduces leg pain and discomfort, allowing you to sleep comfortably and get proper rest.

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Fatima Shaik MD


Fatima Shaik is a board certified internist and cardiologist. She specializes in general cardiology and heart rhythm disorders. She cares for patients at Advanced Medical Group in Jersey City and North Bergen. She also performs procedures at Jersey City Medical Center.

She completed her undergraduate education at NYU and received her MD degree for SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She completed her residency training at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center and her cardiology fellowship at New York Presbyterian Queens. She went on for advanced training in electrophysiology at Cooper Hospital in Camden, NJ.
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