(CNN) -- Most everyone knows that good posture is important, but good posture doesn't apply just to sitting and standing. The muscles and ligaments of your back relax and heal themselves while you sleep. In order to protect your back, good posture is important while sleeping.
Here are some tips to help you sleep better:
Choosing a mattress. Little scientific research exists on which mattress is best for back pain or for maintaining a healthy back. The mattress that's right for you lets you wake up feeling rested and free of pain or soreness. Unless you have a condition that may require a certain type of mattress, you should choose a mattress that provides support for the natural curves of your spine and is comfortable.
If you sleep with a partner, you should have enough space to move into a comfortable sleeping position. Consider replacing your mattress every 9 to 10 years. If you have a back problem, ask your health care provider or physical therapist to recommend the type of mattress that would be best for you.
The right pillow. Pillows are not just for your head and neck. Depending on your sleeping position, additional pillows can help keep your spine in proper alignment. The pillow for your head should support the natural curve of your neck and be comfortable. A pillow that's too high can put your neck into a position that causes muscle strain on your back, neck, and shoulders. Choose a pillow that will keep the neck aligned with the chest and lower back. Your pillow should be adjustable to allow you to sleep in different positions. Replace your pillows every year or so.
Alignment. Regardless of your sleeping position, try to keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned.