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Discovering the Best Sleep Positions for Back Pain Relief-min|woman peacfully sleeping|woman sleeping on stomach|cozy white bed

Health & Wellness

Best Sleep Positions for Back Pain Relief

Back pain is something that affects a huge percentage of the population, and it can be a terrible thing to deal with. When you are experiencing back pain you might find that it is almost impossible to get comfortable in any position while sitting during the day, let alone while trying to sleep in a bed!

Sleep and pain are quite closely linked, and people who do not get enough sleep are more likely to struggle with pain, as research from the Sleep Foundation shows. 1 So, how can we get a good night's sleep if we are suffering from back pain ?

woman peacfully sleeping

Good Sleep Positions for Back Pain Relief

If you are struggling to get comfortable when you have a bad back, then you may want to consider finding some good sleep positions for back pain relief. There are a few different positions which may work for you, depending on the type of back pain you are experiencing.

Let's have a look at some of the best sleep positions for back pain relief:

Pillow Between the Knees

One of the best sleep positions for back pain relief is to roll onto your side, with a pillow between your knees, and, if necessary, a pillow supporting your waist. Try to alternate which side that you sleep on, to reduce the risk of developing muscle imbalances. 2

On Your Back, With a Rolled Up Towel

If you prefer to sleep on your back, then you should support your spine with a small rolled-up pillow in the small of your back. Support your head and neck with a pillow so that your spine is in a neutral position, and you are fully relaxed.

woman sleeping on stomach

On Your Stomach

In general, sleeping on your stomach puts a strain on your back so it's not a great idea. Sleep is an individual, personal thing, though. Some people find that sleeping on their stomach is the best out of the sleep positions for back pain relief. If you are sleeping on your stomach, try to reduce the strain on your back by putting a pillow under your pelvis. You may find that not using a pillow under your head is helpful in this position.

Whatever sleep positions for back pain relief you choose, you should make sure that you have a good mattress. You should replace your mattress every few years, or if you can't do so, add a foam topper to provide a bit of extra support. 3 Ideally, you want to be able to get comfortable in a position where your spine is in neutral alignment and your back is supported. A mattress that is too hard will be difficult to fall asleep with, but one that is too soft will leave you struggling with pain because your back will want to tense up due to the lack of support.

Tips for Getting a Good Night's Sleep

Back pain can make it difficult to relax, and the tension and spasms can be quite irritating. You may want to try some relaxing essential oils , such as the Sleepy blend of chamomile, kava, and lavender to help ease the tension away. Studies show that eucalyptus can help with inflammation and pain, and chamomile can have an anti-inflammatory effect as well. 4 , 5

Good sleep hygiene is also vital. Even people who are not suffering from back pain may find that they sleep better if they follow some key practices:

- Limit caffeine intake in the afternoon

- Have a fixed routine that you follow before going to bed

- Aim to go to bed at the same time every day

- Do not use electronic devices while in bed

- Do not eat heavy/fatty or rich foods before bed

If you follow those 'rules' then you should find that it is easier to fall asleep at night.

cozy white bed

Extra Tips

If you simply cannot fall asleep, do not lie in bed tossing and turning. Get up and read a book or do something calming for a few minutes, and return to the bedroom when you start feeling tired.

If you are trying to train yourself to sleep at a certain time, then try to resist the urge to nap during the day. This can make it harder to follow a fixed sleeping pattern. Try to get up when you need to, and then go to bed at the 'correct' time until your sleep pattern settles around what you need it to.

If you have very bad back pain then you may need to change your mattress. But, before you spend money on a new mattress, talk to your doctor about stretches and exercises, and try gentle pain relief as well.

Photo credits: Stock-Asso/, RomanSamborskyi/, NewAfrica/, PiyawatNandeenopparit/

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