5 Sleep Tips for Back Pain

Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 26 April 2021

Table of Contents:

  1. 5 Sleep Tips for Back Pain
  2. Correct positioning 
  3. Good mattresses
  4. Get in and out of bed carefully
  5. Exercise  
  6. Yoga


5 Sleep Tips for Back Pain


Back pain can make things difficult to get through the day, but it can also make having a full night's sleep more difficult. Finding a good position to doze off in can be challenging. It's possible that you won't be able to get out of bed without pain.


Healthy sleep, on the other hand, is critical to your wellbeing and overall health. According to studies, Americans who rated their quality of life as really good or excellent slept 18 to 23 minutes longer on average than those who rated their health and quality of life as bad.

If you're having difficulty sleeping due to back pain, try these suggestions to make sleeping a little easier.

1. Correct Positioning


Finding a sleeping posture that is more convenient for you will help relieve your back pain. For extra support, sleep with a pillow between or beneath your legs.


Place the pillow between your knees and pull them up gently against your chest if you sleep on your side. If you want to sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees or a small towel under your lower back.


Sleeping on your stomach places a lot of pressure on your back, thus should be avoided. Place a pillow under your stomach to relieve some of the strain on your back if this is the only way in which you can fall asleep.


2. Good Mattresses 


Your body type will determine the type of mattress you need. If your hips are wider than your waist, a soft mattress will be beneficial because it can keep your spine straight when you sleep. If your hips and waist are already aligned, a firmer mattress might be preferable because it provides more support.

Doctors used to often recommend firm mattresses, but studies have shown that people with low back pain sleep poorly on very hard mattresses compared to other kinds. Soft mattresses, on the other hand, may be problematic too. You may sink too much, causing your joints to twist and inflict further pain.


To find out which mattress feels the best, try sleeping on various types of mattresses at friends’ houses or in hotels. If you think a harder mattress will help, try putting a sheet of plywood between your mattress and box spring, or sleep with your mattress on the floor for a few nights to see if the extra support helps.


3. Get in and out of bed carefully


It can seem self-evident, but be extra cautious when getting in and out of bed. Back pain can be exacerbated by bending forward at your waist or by making quick and jerking motions.


Take your time rolling off on one side and pushing yourself up with your arms. You can then slowly get up by swinging your legs out of bed. When it's time to lay down for the night, reverse the movements.

4. Exercise

Regular physical exercise will help you sleep better. However, strengthening the core muscles — the muscles in your abdomen, hips, lower back, and pelvis — can also help relieve back pain.


Increasing the strength and flexibility of these muscles will help you from straining your back and having muscle spasms when sleeping. These muscles can be tightened by holding a plank pose with your hands under your shoulders and your legs out straight. Begin by holding the pose for 15 to 30 seconds, ensuring that the body is in a straight line and your abdominal muscles are engaged.

5. Yoga

Yoga or intensive stretching has been found in studies to help relieve low back pain. It will even help you sleep well and relieve stress.

Consult your doctor on which positions are appropriate for you to practice and which ones would not aggravate your pain. It could be beneficial to begin with yoga props such as blocks and bolsters for added support so that you can comfortably hold poses. It's also a good idea to take a few yoga lessons with an instructor to ensure you're practicing the poses and breathing properly, which is important for relaxation.


Referenced on 14.4.202

  1. National Sleep Foundation: “Pain and Sleep.”
  2. Mayo Clinic: “Slide show: Sleeping positions that reduce back pain,” “Core exercises: Why you should strengthen your core muscles.”
  3. Cleveland Clinic: “Is Your Sleep Position Causing You Back Pain?”
  4. Harvard Medical School: “What type of mattress is best for people with low back pain?” “Yoga for better sleep.”
  5. Sleep.org: “Prevent Back Pain While You Sleep.”
  6. NIH: “Yoga or Stretching Eases Low Back Pain.”
  7. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/sleep-tips-for-back-pain

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