Sleeping with back pain can be a real challenge. You toss and turn, trying to find a comfortable position, and wake up cranky in the morning, not at all refreshed, and possibly in more pain than when you went to bed. If this sounds familiar, it’s time to shake up your bedtime routine. Developing better sleeping habits can significantly ease your back pain.
SLEEPING WITH BACK PAIN
PUTTING YOUR BACK INTO NEUTRAL
To get better sleep with back pain, it’s important to put your back into a neutral position. This means minimising the arch of your spine, but not having your spine be totally flat to the mattress. By doing this, you take the pressure off your spine, allowing for natural decompression overnight, which reduces spinal nerve pressure.
Sleeping on your back is preferable for almost everyone (unless you’re pregnant). To prevent your back from arching too much while you sleeping, put a pillow under your knees. You don’t want your back flat though, so use a small, rolled up towel under the small of your back to keep it ever so slightly arched.
SIDE-SLEEPING WITH BACK PAIN
If you’re a committed side-sleeper, or if you’re pregnant, it can be hard to find a sleeping position that eases back pain. Your best option is to place a pillow between your knees to help keep one leg from falling over the other. This prevents your spine from twisting. It can also help open up the spaces in your lower spine, decompressing nerves.
If you have larger hips and a smaller waist, try placing a small, rolled up towel underneath their waist. This helps to further ease pressure and maintain a good sleeping posture. Here is the pillow we use, and absolutely LOVE!
STOMACH SLEEPERS BEWARE!
Sleeping on your stomach is one of the worst things to do in terms of back health. This position puts a lot of strain on your spine, particularly in your neck.
If you find it difficult to stop sleeping on your stomach, consider wearing a cycling t-shirt to bed, with a tennis ball in the front pocket. This way, if you roll over onto your front, it will be uncomfortable and force you to adopt a better sleeping position.
A body pillow is a seriously good idea for anyone who is pregnant. These longer, curved pillows help support a growing baby-bump and ease pressure on the spine, reducing pregnancy-related back pain. They can also be helpful for larger folks who are carrying a lot of abdominal fat.
Consistent, quality sleep is essential for good health and for healing. If you’ve already replaced your mattress and sleeping with back pain is still proving difficult, try the ideas above! If you find it hard to get used to these sleeping positions, consider using natural anti-inflammatories and natural sedatives to help you relax.