Are you waking up in the morning with back pain? Or do you toss and turn all night because of pain in your lower back? This could be caused by the way you’re sleeping.
In fact, our sleeping positions can have a big impact on the health of our spines. Learn more about which positions are best for relieving or preventing back pain, plus what type of pillow and mattress may work best for you.
The best way to sleep isn't the same for everyone. Let's look at several sleeping positions and the pros and cons of each.
The sleeping position that tends to cause the most lower back pain is on your stomach. Turning your head to the side puts a lot of strain on your neck and can also cause shoulder pain. If you are unable to sleep in any other position, put a thin pillow beneath your stomach and hips to improve alignment.
It's hard to stay in a single position all night, so you may need to try a few to see what feels good in the morning.
Your preferred sleeping position affects what kind of pillow you should get:
Pillows need to be replaced about every two years, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
You may have been told that you need to sleep on a hard mattress if you have back pain. The truth is that a mattress that's so firm it feels as if you're sleeping on a board may not be your best bet. It also shouldn't feel like you're sinking into a cloud when you lay down on the mattress if you're concerned about reducing back pain caused by sleeping. For most people with back pain, a firm or medium-firm mattress is best. Avoid pillow-top mattresses (the pillow top tends to wear out faster than the mattress, but then you have to replace the entire thing or live with a firm mattress). Instead, if you need extra cushioning, get a separate mattress topper. These can also be removed for washing, improving hygiene. Some people find memory foam toppers very helpful.
You can firm up a too-soft mattress by sliding an inexpensive plywood board between the mattress and the box spring or platform. Some companies will also let you try a mattress for a while and return it if it doesn't help your sleep. Buying a more expensive mattress doesn't necessarily mean it will relieve back pain. Look at your options, including some of the more recent foam mattresses from brands like Nectar and Purple.
If you wake up often with lower back pain, it could be connected to how you sleep and what you're sleeping on. If you've already tried adjusting your position, pillow, and/or mattress, you may want to for an evaluation.