How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain
Back pain is difficult to deal with at any time of the day, but many people experience the worst pain at night. Even if it’s not the most severe pain, it can drastically impact the quality of sleep you get.
Often times, back pain causes several microarousals every hour during a night’s sleep. Microarousals change your sleep to a lighter state which disrupts a normal sleeping pattern.
We all know how important a good night’s sleep is to being productive and energetic. Couple the nagging daily pain with an overall sense of fatigue, it is no wonder that back pain is one of the most common injuries we hear about from customers.
Depending on whether you are dealing with subacute or chronic back pain, there are several things you can do to improve your symptoms while you sleep.
It is widely known that the best sleeping position is on your back. This is because it evenly distributes your weight across the widest surface of your body.
By doing this, you are minimizing pressure points in your neck, lower back, and heels. You also ensure the proper alignment of your internal organs. While sleeping on your stomach also distributes weight across a wide surface, it puts too much extra strain on your spine.
If you prefer to sleep on your side, there are still things you can do to help minimize any lower back pain. It is important to try to alternate sides night-to-night. Habitually sleeping on one side may contribute to more severe muscle soreness and back pain.
This is because it suspends the middle of your body between your hips and shoulders, which compromises the alignment of your spine.
Using pillows or small rolled-up towels can make a huge difference in keeping that proper alignment of your back and spine.
If you are sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees while you sleep. Also ensure that the pillow used for your head fills the space between your neck and the mattress. You want the pillow to be beneath only your head and neck, not your shoulders.
We have also heard from customers who place a small pillow or rolled-up towel underneath the arch of their back. Once again, this ensures proper alignment and no extra strain on pressure points in your spine.
If you are sleeping on your side, placing a pillow between your knees will keep your hips, pelvis, and spine aligned.
Choosing the Right Mattress
In order to keep your spine in a neutral position, it is important to choose a well-made innerspring or foam mattress. Sleeping on the wrong mattress for your body type can create those pressure points at the back of the head, shoulder blades, tailbone, and heels.
The key is finding the right firmness to support the natural curve of your spine at the neck and lower back. Unfortunately, there is no clear formula or set scale that allows everyone to choose their perfect mattress.
It depends on a variety of factors, including your body type and sleeping position. The general rule is that to alleviate lower back pain, your mattress should be on the firmer side rather than the softer and squishier.
However, that’s not to say your mattress shouldn’t be comfortable. As we spend nearly a third of our lives in bed, it is still vital you have a mattress that will lead to a good night’s sleep.
So, comfort and firmness are the biggest factors that should be considered when looking to upgrade your mattress.
Your body type plays a big role in what type of mattress you should consider. If your hips are wider than your waist, a softer mattress is normally recommended. This is because it accommodates the wide of your pelvis and allows your spine to stay in that neutral position.
If your hips and waist are in a relatively straight line, a more rigid mattress offers better support for your sleep.
Lastly, it is important to consider what you are doing as you get ready for bed every night. There are several simple stretches you can do every night to help alleviate some of the strain.
Some of these include bear hugs, neck stretches, child’s pose, and low lunges. Healthline has a detailed list of even more stretches and how to perform them.
It’s also worth noting other habits you have that could be affecting your sleep pattern. Whether it’s a coffee in the late afternoon or a heavy meal before bed, your sleep quality depends greatly on what you consume in those hours leading up to bedtime.
The most important things to consider when thinking about how to sleep with lower back pain are your mattress and sleeping position. Investing in a quality mattress and committing to change your nightly routine will make a huge difference in your sleep.
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