Lower back pain can be a serious pain that results in a lack of sleep at night. However, it is surprising that the condition is not caused by diseases like cancer or arthritis, but comes as a result of improper sleep positions, poor daily routine, or engaging in extraneous activities during the day.

Sleep is supposed to give you sufficient rest to overcome lower back pain, but what happens when you get lower back pain in the morning after sleeping?

This could be as a result of sleeping in positions that worsen the lower back pain instead of easing it.

Experts have recommended the best sleep positions for lower back pain and you will be surprised how you have been doing it in the wrong way. 

This article gives the 5 best sleep positions that will give you sufficient rest and reduce your lower back pain. 

Best sleeping positions for lower back pain

Sleep in a reclined position

Sleeping in a reclined position
Credit: Bustle

Reclined position is one of the most comfortable and recommended positions while sleeping. In this position, one sleeps facing up while the legs are raised a bit and the head resting on a pillow. 

Experts recommend sleeping in a reclined position because the bodyweight is distributed across a large surface. This eases a single part of the body from supporting the whole body mass hence reducing stress.

You can achieve sleeping in a reclined position with the help of a recliner bed or seat that can be twisted at an angle with both the head and the lower part of the body raised a bit. However, a lack of adjustable bed can still be catered by using a normal bed with the head and the lower part of the body raised with a pillow or a soft towel.

Sleep in a fetal position

Sleep in a fetal position
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Fetal position is yet another best sleep position for the lower back pain. This position involves one sleeping on their side with knees tucked towards the check allowing the back to rest in a curled-up position as shown in the image below. Any space that is left between the body and the mattress should be supported by a soft pillow to ensure that the body is well-aligned.

The fetal position has the advantage of reducing the bending of the spine and opens up the joints. This is particularly advisable for people with herniated discs.

Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs

Sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs

Most of the lower back pain results from parts of the body like the hips not being aligned to the general posture of the body while asleep. Most of the people prefer sleeping on their side. Sleeping on a hard surface further aggravates the condition. 

One way to solve this is to tuck a soft pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side. The pillow will raise the hip and lower limb a little bit hence bringing in the much-needed comfort while aligning your lower body part to the rest of the body.

You should always resist the urge to sleeping on one side for a long time. This might cause muscle imbalance and result in one side of the body feeling numb long after you wake up. A routine change of the sleeping side is advisable throughout the night.

Sleep facing down with a pillow under your lower abdomen

sleeping on your stomach with a pillow under your belly

Sleeping while facing down is not a recommended position while sleeping. However, many people find it more comfortable than any other position mentioned above. This position makes it difficult to breathe.

This can be remedied by having a soft pillow under the lower abdomen to ease the pressure on the stomach that can be caused by the mattress. The forehead should also be lifted slightly by a thin pillow or a soft towel to ensure that nothing interferes with normal breathing.

Sleeping on the stomach is more beneficial to people with degenerative disc disease. This sleeping position will relieve the stress that normally builds up between the discs when upright.

Sleep on your back with a pillow under your feet

woman sleeping on her back with a pillow under her feet
Credit: Courtesy

This sleeping position is similar to that of the reclined position. It involves one sleeping on their back facing up. A pillow is then tucked under the feet to raise them slightly such that they are higher than the general body level. 

Sleeping on the back is the most comfortable position for so many people. It helps to ease the lower back pain since it enables the body weight to be evenly distributed hence reducing strain on the pressure points of the back and the spine. 

Sleeping on the back is also credited for enabling the spine to be aligned with the internal organs.

Other ways that help to reduce the lower back pain

Your pillow could be causing more lower back pain

best sleep pillow on a bed
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Would you believe it that maybe your lower back pain problem is as a result of the pillow you are using? A good pillow should be able to maintain the general body alignment. It should also offer you the comfort you deserve while asleep. The pillow should be adaptable to several sleeping positions, be comfortable for different uses and retain its shape after use.

A pillow should be replaced periodically once it loses its shape, ideally after 12 to 18 months.

Different pillows have been customized for different sleeping positions. Long gone are the days when a single pillow could be used for ideally everything, including pillow fights (smh!). Choosing a pillow now depends on how you want to use it. In most cases, the pillow taste is normally unique to the person that uses it. Some prefer a thinner pillow while others have a completely different preference. However, there is a general consideration that can be made while choosing a pillow. This consideration can give you a headstart on what could be suitable for better sleep and reduced lower back pain.

Thinner pillows are well suited for people who sleep on their backs. Raising of the head so much could cause a strain on the neck and the back. Thin pillows are also recommended for the neck and a variety of them can be found on amazon. These pillows can also be used under the hips for those people who like sleeping on their stomachs.

Memory foam is also good for the head and neck. This is because it molds to the shape of the head and neck as you sleep.

A water pillow is also a good option because it gives firm support while you sleep.

People who like sleeping on their sides are better suited with a thicker pillow. In this sleep position, the head and the neck are normally raised by the arm. A thick pillow will, therefore, help to fill the space between the neck and the pillow completely aligning the neck with the rest of the spinal cord. A gusseted pillow is recommended for this case and can be obtained at a competitive price from amazon.

Sleeping on the stomach shouldn’t require a pillow on the forehead at all. If need be, a thin pillow should be used. This is because a thick pillow will push the head backward applying unnecessary pressure to the neck. 

A good mattress can help reduce lower back pain

a good sleep mattress to help reduce lower back pain
Image by sensopur from Pixabay

Mattresses play a big role in aggravating lower back pain. The firmness of your mattress determines how comfortable you are when asleep. Research has however revealed that firmer mattresses can be a source of discomfort. This discomfort subsequently results in a lack of sleep for most people. Mattresses are supposed to be replaced every 10 years.

The type of mattress to go for is determined by the body shape, size, and proportions of the body parts. People with wider hips are better off with a soft mattress while those with smaller hips need a firm mattress.

Despite the popular belief, softer mattresses could cause more discomfort than a firmer mattress. Softer mattresses could sink too deep disorienting the body posture and causing joints to twists and the spinal cord to dislodge from its general alignment. 

A short term solution to the use of a soft mattress is using cheap plywood under the mattress to lessen spring movement. An alternative will be using a memory foam mattress topper to provide additional support to the mattress. A wide range of affordable mattress toppers is available on amazon.

Adopt a good daily work routine

Adopt an active lifestyle whenever possible. A sedentary life leads to various body sickness that includes lower back pain. During the day, ensure that you are not seated in one position for a long time. Where possible, take regular breaks and pace around the room or incorporate activities like Yoga in your lifestyle.

Avoid extraneous activities like hard exercises before bedtime. This should be preserved for morning hours or early afternoon.

A night routine could also work very well. 30 – 60 minutes before you settle to bed, perform some light activities that help soothe your mind and put it in a relaxation mode. This includes taking a warm bath, reading a book, knitting or doing some light yoga.

Adopt a good sleep routine

Sleeping late and at irregular times on a daily basis makes you uncomfortable at night. Lack of sufficient sleep also affects body functionality. 

A good sleep routine should be adopted. This includes sleeping at a regular time and waking up and designated times on a daily basis. Ensure that you get enough sleep. Adults sleep for 7 and 9 hours daily. Achieving this consistency in the sleep routine enables the body to adjust and gain enough rest. This will, therefore, make you active and productive throughout the day.

It could be time to see a doctor for your lower back pain problem

Despite all the advice from this blog post, a severe back pain that is consistent and causes long term lack of sleep should be brought to the attention of a doctor. 

A lower back pain that persists despite all the advice above or has been caused by an external factor like injury should not be ignored, but reported to the doctor immediately. The same applies to lower back pain that is accompanied by any other pain that includes chest pain, fever, difficulty passing urine among others.

You might also like: