Suffering from lower back pain? Join the club! Most cases of lower back pain happen because of bad posture or awkward sleeping positions.
I’ve made up my own sleeping position which is somewhere between face down and lifting my knee to support my back. Does that make any sense? No? It doesn’t make sense to me either.
Lower back pain affects sleep, and that in turn causes other problems. Backaches could become worse if not taken care of properly.
Before we get into the details about how and what you can do to sleep better with lower back pain, let’s learn a little more about sleeping positions.
Contents & Quick Navigation
- Why Sleeping Positions are Important
- 1. Use your Knee for Support
- 2. Sleep Sideways for Better Support
- 3. The Classic: Fetal Position
- 4. Pillow Under the Stomach
- 5. Sleeping Face Down
- How to Find the Right Pillow
- How to Find the Right Mattress
- Take Better Care of Yourself
- When to Visit the Doctor
- In Conclusion
Why Sleeping Positions are Important
If you thought the position you sleep in had nothing to do with your back pain, think again. It has everything to do with it!
There are positions that can help you immensely with your back pain. An awkward sleeping position can put a strain on your spine, neck, back, and hips all at the same time.
Whenever you’re asleep, it’s vital you maintain a position that will help you keep your spine, head, hips, and shoulders in their natural alignment.
We’re going to be talking about the right sleeping position, pillows, mattresses, sleeping tips, and when you should visit the doctor.
Here are five sleeping positions you can use to help you sleep better with lower back pain.
1. Use your Knee for Support
Sleeping on your back is the standard sleeping position everybody is familiar with. Many people feel uncomfortable sleeping in this position even though it’s actually healthy and good for the back.
However, there’s another way you can give your back more support when you’re sleeping.
First off, place a pillow to support your neck and head. You then need to lie flat on your back and refrain from twisting or turning your head. Finally, place another pillow under your knees.
You can also place a pillow under your back if you think it will help you. This method of sleeping will not only help distribute your weight evenly but will also minimize pressure points.
This position helps to give your spine the support and proper alignment it needs and keeps the natural curve of your spine.
2. Sleep Sideways for Better Support
Sleeping sideways is another common position everyone is familiar with. But did you know that merely sleeping on your side can put your spine out of its original position?
This greatly affects the lower back. If you’re a person that loves to sleep sideways and are now freaking out reading this, don’t worry. This can be easily fixed.
The steps are pretty easy to follow. Start off with getting into bed and rolling onto a side of your preference. Pull your knees up slightly and place a pillow between them. You can also opt for putting more pillows around your waist.
This sleeping method raises your upper leg which helps to keep the natural alignment of your spine, pelvis, and hips all at the same time.
If you’re prone to turning in your sleep, we recommend a large pillow you can hug against your stomach or chest.
Related Read: Best Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers – Reviews & Tips
3. The Classic: Fetal Position
The fetal position is another sleeping position you can adapt to help ease your back pain. This is especially important for those who have a herniated disc.
So, what you need to do first is, get into bed and roll onto your side. Make sure there are pillows that are supporting your head and neck properly. Pull your knees closer to the chest until your back is straight.
When assuming the fetal position, it actually helps to open up the joints. Not to mention, it prevents your spine from bending.
4. Pillow Under the Stomach
You’d assume that sleeping on your stomach would be one of the worst positions, yet you’ll be surprised to know that it has its advantages.
For those who can’t seem to sleep in any other position, this particular position is for them. All you need is a small pillow and you’re all set.
Start off by getting into bed and rolling on to your front. Put a small pillow underneath your hips and stomach to slightly raise your mid-section.
Don’t use a pillow when you’re sleeping in this position, but if you must, use a flat pillow for your head. If you have a degenerative disc disorder or a herniated disc, no other position will help you with the pain better than this one.
Give it a try!
Additional Read: Best Pregnancy Pillow – A Complete Buyer’s Guide
5. Sleeping Face Down
This sleeping position is a bit tough to maintain for those who toss and turn a lot in their sleep.
For sleeping face down, you first need to make sure you’re supporting your neck. Otherwise, don’t try this position. If you’re not careful you could easily put stress on your back, shoulders, and neck.
There’s also the risk of twisting your spine. You can use a small, firm pillow or used a rolled up towel to support your forehead.
Remember, you also need to put a pillow under your stomach. You’ll need room to breathe, so make sure you have everything set before sleeping in this position.
How to Find the Right Pillow
Not everyone has the same preferences, be it for pillows or mattresses. The pillow you use to support your head needs to be comfortable. This is very important because it will help you support your neck and spine.
Here are a few types of the pillows you’ll need:
Types of Pillows and their Uses
Thin Pillows: Those who love to sleep on their back or on their stomach should get a thinner pillow. If your head is raised too much it will put pressure on your back, neck, and spine.
You can use a memory foam, a water pillow, or a body pillow. The body pillow will ensure your body has the right alignment when you sleep on your stomach.
Thick Pillows: Those who sleep on their sides should opt for thick or firm pillows. It should also fill up the spaces between the shoulder and neck and ear areas completely for optimum support.
A firm or thick pillow placed between your knees while you sleep on your side is also recommended. You can also use a rolled up towel if you’re short on pillows.
Keep in mind, pillows should always be changed every year or so.
How to Find the Right Mattress
When it comes to picking the right type of mattresses there shouldn’t be any compromises. Never settle for a mattress that’s not right for you.
Your physical wellbeing always comes first. Mattresses have to be comfortable, durable, and supportive all the way through.
Types of Mattresses and their Uses
If you have the budget for buying a new mattress, we’d suggest getting a memory foam, or an innerspring mattress. Memory foam is known to be really helpful when it comes to easing back pain and helps fix spinal adjustments.
Consider your body shape, size, and proportion when it comes to getting the right mattress. People with slim waists are advised to sleep on firm or semi-firm mattresses.
Similarly, people with wide hips are advised to sleep on a soft mattress. However, soft mattresses are not always a good idea to sleep on.
There’s a danger of twisting the joints and messing up the natural alignment of your body. If you have to use a soft mattress, place a plywood board underneath it to make it a bit firmer.
Remember to change your mattress every 10 years!
- How to Choose A Mattress – The Right Mattress Buying Guide
- Best Mattress for Platform Beds – Reviews & Buying Guide
Take Better Care of Yourself
One thing you lose when you have back pain is sleep. Staying up late isn’t healthy. Here’s what you need to avoid and what you need to do before you head to bed.
What to Avoid when you Go to Sleep
A few things you should avoid before bedtime are cell phones, television, caffeine, and anything that will keep your brain active.
Many people think it’s a great idea to get some exercise to tire themselves out. That doesn’t work at all. If anything, your brain becomes more active, your body temperature rises, and your adrenaline levels are also raised.
Maintain a proper schedule for your bedtime, it can do wonders for your body. A solid seven to eight hours of sleep is perfect for adults.
What you Can Do to Help you Sleep
There are many ways to make yourself fall asleep faster. Firstly, you need to make sure your bedroom is all set for bedtime as well. Set aside a good half hour for your routine.
Dim the lights and read a book. Keep in mind, the book you choose has to be boring or less interesting. If not, you’ll be up all night wanting to finish it.
For music, it can be nature sounds, soft piano, or just some basic white noises to help you doze off. You can also take a relaxing bath or do some gentle yoga stretches.
Clear your brain and focus on falling asleep. It’s important we take good care of ourselves while we still have the time.
When to Visit the Doctor
If you’re experiencing severe back pain, it’s time to visit the doctor. Don’t leave anything to chance and get yourself checked out ASAP!
If your pain is getting worse even after resting, or if you’ve fallen down and the pain is not going away, go to the doctor.
Other alarming symptoms are fever, pain in your chest, feeling numb in your lower parts, and bladder problems. Look for immediate treatments and change your lifestyle.
Lack of sleep can cause a lot of problems and the organs in your body won’t be able to keep up with it.
Take a look at the five sleeping positions mentioned above, and give them all a try. Find out which one works best for your back pain, do some research on your own, and adapt that into your sleeping routine.
Never take chances if your pain is getting worse; visit a doctor and get yourself checked out. Having chronic back pain is serious business and should not be taken lightly.
Last but not least, remember to allow yourself enough sleep to keep your mind and body well rested. Take care of yourself first!
You may also want to read: Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain – Reviews and Buying Guides