If you have lower back pain, getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. Falling asleep and staying asleep is not so simple when your lower back is aching, throbbing, or tingling. While there’s no single cause of back pain, there are ways you can help yourself get better sleep despite it.
- First, talk to your doctor
The reasons for lower back pain are many, and the treatment for the source of your pain may be different than the next, so a conversation with a doctor you trust is the best place to start. They can help you identify the source of your back pain and treat the cause rather than just the symptoms.
- Take a look at your sleeping surface
Ask yourself: Are you going to bed with back pain that make it difficult for you to sleep or is your lack of sleep making you wake up with back pain?Is the pain acute (a new pain that isn’t there all the time) or chronic (long-term, ongoing)?
What you’re sleeping on may have a lot to do with the cause of your lower back pain. You might have a mattress that does not keep your spine in alignment, which, for many, is a source of lower back pain. A medium-firm mattress (rather than one that is very soft or very firm) can help keep your spine aligned during the night and may help alleviate back pain.
- Consider your sleeping position
There’s no “right” sleeping position, and it’s difficult to change your natural sleep position, but if you’re sleeping on your back or your stomach, this may mean that your spine stays curved all night and is not aligned. For some, this can be the source of back pain. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, which may help you stay on your side longer.
- Check for sleep disturbances
As if back pain doesn’t make it hard enough to sleep, you want to consider anything else that may be disturbing getting a good night’s rest. For example, if you have a noisy fan or loud HVAC system, consider calling a repairman to make some changes.
- Limit your time in bed to 8 hours
Staying in bed too long can actually make your pain worse. If you are one to lay in bed for a few hours after waking up, try to change up your routine by getting up and stretching. This daily habit can help with your pain and hopefully encourage a new, healthy habit into your day.
- Meditate before sleeping
If you’re in pain while sleeping, you’ll want to do everything you can to help you get to sleep. Simply downloading a meditation app on your phone and listening to a guided meditation for good sleep may get your mind off of the back pain and help you get to sleep faster.
- Avoid electronics before sleeping
A simple trick to try getting to sleep faster is to avoid using electronics for an hour before you go to sleep. Simple plug your phone in on the other side of the room. If you have trouble sleeping, pick up a book and read until your eyes start to shut.