Struggling with back pain can make getting through day-to-day tasks difficult. However, the most challenging part of the day for those who deal with back pain should be the most relaxing – getting a good night’s sleep. Often, lower back pain can make it seem impossible to find a comfortable position, and constantly tossing and turning to find one can prove painful as well.
However, a good night’s sleep is imperative for your physical and mental well-being. According to WebMD, studies found that Americans who ranked their quality of life very good or excellent slept an average of 18 to 23 minutes longer than those who considered their health and quality of life lower.
If you’re looking to find the best way to sleep with lower back pain, look no further. Follow these tips and recommendations to head down the road to a better night’s sleep.
Find a Sleeping Position That Works for You
There are certain sleeping positions and styles known to help ease lower back pain and some that may be unknowingly exacerbating your problem. Sleeping on your stomach, for example, has been known to cause undue strain to the lower back.
The key to finding the proper sleeping position that will best ease your lower back pain is alignment. According to Healthline.com, keeping proper alignment of your spine requires focusing specifically on aligning your ears, shoulders, and hips.
One of the most effective and commonly used ways to keep your spine properly aligned while sleeping is to sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs. This position allows your spine to stay properly aligned throughout the night while helping to eliminate the lower back pain that’s typically aggravated when you lie down flat.
Stretch Before and After Bed
Trying gentle stretches before going to bed and after waking up, such as light yoga poses, can prove extremely beneficial for those who struggle with back pain after sleeping. Besides stretching out and relaxing your muscles, yoga has been proven to reduce stress and help people sleep better.
There are multiple effective stretches to help ease lower back pain, as provided by Healthline.com.
The knee-to-chest stretch can help lengthen and strengthen your lower back, helping relieve tension and pain. To perform the knee-to-chest stretch, start by lying on your back, followed by pulling and holding one or both of your knees to your chest.
Seat Forward Bend:
The seat forward bend is a fantastic stretch to loosen leg muscles and relieve the tightness and tension often considered a common contributor to lower back pain. The seat forward bend stretches out the hamstrings to release tension in the spine and lower back. To perform the seat forward bend, sit on the floor with your legs extended, then hook a towel around the bottom of your heels and use it to pull yourself forward and stretch your hamstring and lower back muscles.
Trunk Rotation Stretch:
The trunk rotation stretch can be an excellent stretch for relieving lower back tension, as well as a great way to work out your abdominals, back muscles, and pelvic muscles. To perform the trunk rotation stretch, lie on your back, bring your knees up toward your chest, extend your arms straight out, gently roll your knees to each side, and hold the position.
Invest in a Good Mattress
In the past, doctors only recommended sleeping on firm mattresses to those struggling with back pain; this is no longer the case. The type of mattress tailored to solving your back-pain issue is entirely dependent upon your body type.
A soft mattress can be good if your hips are wider than your waist because it will let your spine stay straight while you sleep, while if your hips and waist already line up straight, a harder mattress might feel better because it will give you more support.
To find out what works for you, you may want to try sleeping on different kinds of mattresses, whether at a relative’s house or a hotel, to truly determine what works best for you. If you are looking for a firmer option with more support, you could try moving your mattress to the floor for a night and gauging the feeling or adding a piece of plywood under the mattress to simulate a firmer bed.
Strengthen Your Core and Back Muscles
Exercising regularly is a proven method to reduce stress and improve the quality of one’s sleep. However, doing targeted workouts specifically to strengthen essential muscles such as the abdomen, hips, pelvis, and lower back can increase strength and decrease injury risk to your lower back.
A good exercise that works out all necessary muscles at once would be the plank. To perform the plank, place your hands straight out under your shoulders and your legs straight out. Hold this pose for 15-30 seconds while keeping your body aligned properly in a straight line, and watch your back and core muscles strengthen and your pain weaken.
Living with back pain is a common issue that can throw a wrench in your daily activities. However, when your back pain interferes with your quality of sleep, it can lead to a variety of other health issues associated with lack of sleep. While it may be difficult, mitigating back pain and getting a full night’s sleep is possible. With the tips provided here, you may begin your journey to getting the shuteye you desire and say goodbye to pesky lower back pain.