At night time, our bodies are expecting to rest and relax. For so many with lower back pain, that can be a struggle. With lower back pain, you could be tossing and turning throughout the night to find a comfortable sleeping position. Sleeping in an incorrect position can increase your back pain and make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep. So what’s the best option for you? For a better night sleep and relief of back pain, follow these tips.
Positions for better sleep
When you have lower back pain, finding a good position to sleep in can seem impossible, and if you fall asleep in the wrong one, your back can hurt even worse. The best sleeping positions to help back pain include:
- Sleeping on your side with a pillow between or underneath your legs. If you like sleeping on your side, put a pillow between your knees to aid in the alignment of your spine.
- Sleeping on your back with a pillow underneath your legs. This added support will reduce the stress on your spine and it will support the natural curve in your lower back, which is great for alignment.
- Sleeping on your side in the fetal position. This is a great sleeping position if you have a herniated disc. When you curl your body into the fetal position, it expands the vertebrae and can take pain off of the irritated nerve.
- Sleeping with a pillow under your stomach. If the most comfortable position is on your stomach, you can aid your alignment by placing a pillow underneath your abdomen. This will promote your natural spine curve and keep the stress off of your spine. This position may help those with a degenerative disc because of the relieved stress on the space between your spinal discs.
One tip to keep in mind, regardless of your sleep position, is your ears, shoulders, and hips should be aligned to promote a healthy spine.
Develop good sleep habits
Good sleep is essential to your health and overall well-being. One way to promote a better night sleep is by establishing good sleep habits. Things like varying the time you go to bed and wake up can greatly affect your quality of sleep. Good sleep habits include:
- Only going to bed when you’re tired. If you’re not tired yet, try reading a book, listening to music, or doing other relaxing activities. It’s advised to stay away from your phone, because the light could make it take even longer to fall asleep.
- Get up if you’re not asleep after 20 to 30 minutes. Lying awake at night can contribute to your stress levels, making it even more difficult to fall asleep. Try some relaxing activities to get you ready to fall asleep.
- Stay away from all electronics just before bed. The harsh glow from your phones, computers, TVs, and tablets can confuse your body about the time of day. It is best to turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
- Get on a sleep schedule. Falling asleep and waking up around the same time every day can improve your sleep. Plus, you’ll eventually train your body to be tired and awake at certain times, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.
- Avoid naps during the day. If you’re on a sleep schedule, naps can botch up your whole routine. If you had a night of terrible sleep, a nap can actually make it worse in the long run.
Take control of your sleep quality
Finding the perfect night’s sleep can come down to the type of mattress and pillow you use. There are so many different options and not all are created equal. Pillows aren’t just for your head, they also contribute to your spine health. The pillow you use should support the natural curve of your neck and be comfortable. Keep your alignment in mind when choosing a pillow. It should keep the neck aligned with the chest and lower back. Your pillow should also be versatile to allow you to sleep in different positions. If you’ve had the same pillow for years, it’s time to part ways. Studies show your pillow should be replaced every year or so because of the germs from dusts and molds that can fester.
The quality of your mattress can contribute to your quality of sleep. There is not a whole lot of research done on what type is mattress is best to help back pain, but when you’ve found the right mattress, you’ll know. Waking up feeling fresh, rested, and free of pain is a pretty good indicator. Again, keep in mind your mattress should support the natural curves of your spine. If you sleep with a partner, make sure you have enough space to move into a comfortable sleeping position. Mattresses can get saggy and worn out, which means you should find another mattress. Overall, a saggy mattress could be the reason for your back pain, because it places additional stress on your spine. The best thing is to ditch the old mattress and take a trip to the mattress store to find your perfect fit.
Better sleep can mean less back pain and a happier you. Try one or all of these tips for sleeping with back pain and let us know if they helped! If your back pain persists, it may be time to speak with a physician.