If back pain is keeping you up at night, there are some sleeping tips that can help. How to find the best sleeping position for you.
Is your back pain interrupting your sleep? You’re not alone. Researchers estimate that 80% of adults have back pain at least once in their life, and this pain plays an important role in disturbing sleep. That’s a lot of back pain and sleepless nights.
Fortunately, finding the best sleeping position can provide significant back pain relief and result in longer, more restful sleep. We’ve put together a few ideas to help you find the best sleeping position to cuddle up to and reduce the chances of your back pain waking you up.
Why It’s Hard to Sleep with Back Pain
Sleeping with back pain is difficult as the pain gets worse while lying down.
There are many possible causes of back pain. Most often this is due to tension stretching the back muscles. It can also be caused by irritation to the nerves and a herniated disc, which can cause part of the disc to come out and compress the nerves.
Lying down can put pressure on an area that is already compressed or misaligned, making back pain worse. There is usually less pressure on the spine or lower back when standing.
Good posture can often help relieve back pain, but you will likely lose that posture when you sleep.
What is the ideal sleeping position?
You need to test each one to see which one is best for you. However, the best positions have one thing in common: They prioritize proper alignment. This helps keep compressed discs or nerves less stressful and leaves room in your joints and discs for nutrients and water to drain away.
Researchers say this space hydrates ligaments, cartilage, and tendons with proper alignment and potentially provides further relief from back pain while sleeping.
Here are the best positions for sleeping with back pain. You will be more comfortable choosing the one that is closest to your normal sleep. For example, if you usually sleep on your back, try adjusting your sleeping position in your back.
1. The Fetal Position
If your back pain is due to compression or a herniated disc, sleeping in a fetal position may provide some relief. This is because the curvature of the spine can help relieve pressure on the lower back discs, opening them up, and relieving pain.
The key here is to position the pillow so it supports your head and neck, and then bring your knees back to your chest at a nearly 90-degree angle to your spine.
2. On Your Side with a Pillow Between Your Knees
Sleeping on your side is usually not the best position for back pain. If your legs fall unevenly to the side of your hips fall forward, it can cause your spine to be misaligned.
However, if you put a semi-rigid pillow between your knees, it will stabilize your hips and prevent them from twisting or falling forward or backward.
Also, make sure to put a pillow under your head that will keep your neck in line with your spine.
3. On Your Back with a Pillow Under Your Knees
Sleeping on your back is the most recommended position for back pain relief. This position aligns your body from head to toe and is most similar to standing with good posture.
To further improve this position, raise your knees with a small pillow. This is the only area that will sag when you sleep on your back. If you support him lightly, your spine will be fully aligned.
4. On Your Stomach with a Pillow Under Your Hips
Sleeping on your stomach is generally not recommended if you have back pain as the lower spine sags with the hips instead of following the normal curve. This position can also compress the lower back and put a strain on the neck.
However, if you are still on your stomach, place a pillow under your hips to raise your hips. This will better align your spine.
5. Reclined on Your Back
If you sleep better in a chaise longue than a flat mattress, invest in an adjustable bed. Some people with spinal disorders that cause disc problems may find relief with a slight inclination.
In this position, you can also place a flat pillow under your knees to take the pressure off your lower back.
More Sleep Hacks for Back Pain
Of course, sleeping positions don’t tell the whole story of sleep quality. Here are some other ideas to try:
Find the Right Pillow
The right pillow is important to keep your spine perfectly aligned at night. Here are some key points to consider when purchasing a pillow:
- Make sure the pillow is thick enough so that your neck is in line with the rest of your spine, both when you are lying on your side and on your back.
- Make sure the space under your neck is completely filled to support your curve.
- Make sure the pillow is firm enough to support this alignment while you sleep.
Memory foam checks all of these boxes because it is firm yet conforms to your head and neck so it fits in with your natural alignment of the spine.
Also, think about how you normally sleep when choosing a pillow. If you sleep on your stomach a lot, choose a thinner pillow as it doesn’t require your head to be supported to be in line with your spine.
If you sleep on your side, consider buying a firmer pillow to support the greater distance between your shoulder and neck. Throw an extra pillow between your knees.
Change Positions Carefully
It can be easy to get in an awkward position when you turn around at night or change positions if you are not careful. Try to develop a habit of straightening your core before moving as this can reduce the stress on your joints and ligaments as you turn.
Also, try moving your body in one gentle motion instead of letting your spine or hips twist or turn. This can help you avoid moving your joints in opposite directions, which can lead to compensation and pain.
Consider Your Mattress
Is your mattress several years old, fragile, or very elastic? Maybe it’s time to buy a new one with the pillows.
Ideally, your mattress should be semi-firm and conform to the curves of your body like a good pillow. Memory foam is ideal for this, but if you can’t afford a memory foam mattress, try memory foam mattresses instead.
We know mattresses that are too soft are not good for your back, but don’t shut up either! Studies show that mattresses that are too soft and too firm can lead to a misalignment of the spine. If we measure the firmness of the mattress on a scale of 1 to 10, you want something in the range of 4 to 7.
Avoid Electronics Before Bed
Studies show that blue light from electronic devices such as laptops, e-readers, and cell phones can disrupt your daily rhythm.
Your daily rhythm regulates your sleep and wake cycles. So if you are disturbed, you may have trouble falling asleep or waking up.
Avoid using electronic devices at night or at least an hour before bed.
Avoid Caffeine Past the Early Afternoon
Drinking coffee, caffeinated tea, or other caffeinated beverages before bed can also affect your sleep as they stimulate your nervous system. Try to have your last cup of coffee before noon to make sure it doesn’t affect sleep.