Sleeping with Sciatica can be tough – unless you know how to manage the pain with the right sleeping positions and other tips and tricks. Sciatica is a painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve that can make sleeping and other day to day activities difficult. Many people report having to re-learn how to do common activities like walking and sleeping to avoid daily pain.
These pains can make day to day life difficult – plus leaving you feeling tired all the time due to lack of sleep! I put together some of my 13 favorite tips and tricks plus some recommended sleeping positions so you get get a good night of rest!
Tired of suffering from leg, back and neck pain from Sciatica? Pain in the legs and lower back is most common – but in extreme cases of compression it can radiate to other nearby parts of the body. This constant pain can make living life tough!
13 Tips & Tricks to Sleep with Sciatica
When Sciatica pain flairs up it can be almost impossible to find a comfortable position in bed. Unlike other back problems finding relief can be tough – especially if you want to avoid powerful pills and surgery. The dull and acute lower body pains plus spasms and numbness can make keeping a consistent sleep schedule almost impossible! In search of relief – try these 13 tips and tricks.
1. Pre Sleep Stretching
My favorite way to prevent pain before it starts is with a round of stretching. I get out my Yoga mat and do a full set of leg and back stretches. Some of my favorite stretches are:
- Hamstring stretches
- Sitting butterfly
- Standing shin stretch
- Soleus stretch
If any of these are giving you trouble try stabilizing yourself with a chair or using a rubber band for extra resistance!
2. Take a Hot Bath
A hot bubble bath a relaxing way to prepare your body for bed. Hot water (plus your favorite bubble bath mix) works to open pores and relax your muscles – helping to mentally prepare you for bed. Sciatic nerve pain is often caused by compression so taking some weight off is always a good way to relax.
- Try using bubble bath or Epsom salt
- Don’t overheat – it can be difficult to sleep while hot
3. Listen to Relaxing Music
A hot bubble bath a relaxing way to prepare your body for bed. Hot water (plus your favorite bubble bath mix) works to open pores and relax your muscles – helping to mentally prepare you for bed. Sciatic nerve pain is often caused by compression so taking some weight off is always a good way to relax. Not sure where to start – check out some of my favorites!
4. Invest in a New Mattress
Can’t seem to find the sweet spot in bed? The problem might be your mattress. Over time the springs, foam and other supports in your bed break down – plus all the dust, sweat and other stains can make the thought of laying down unpleasant. Luckily for you there are countless online mattress companies that let you order a bed to be delivered directly to your doorstep!
5. Elevate your Knees
Elevating your knees might sound like an old wives tale but there is actually science behind the claim. Raising your knees helps release pressure from the lumbar discs and decrease sciatic pressure. Start flat on your back and push your heels as far back as possible. Use a pillow or blanket for additional support – you may need to lay on the floor if your bed is soft and squishy.
6. Mix Up Sleeping Position
Find your sleeping problems getting worse over time – you might want to try a new sleeping position. I put together a list of my 3 best way to sleep with sciatica if you are out of ideas for new positions. Learning how to lay in bed with Sciatica can be tough – especially if you are trying a new sleeping position.
7. Sleep with Neck & Body Pillows
Switch up angles and try to sleep with a full neck or body pillow. The extra comfort and support might be just what your body is looking for in bed!
8. Get a Massage
Sometimes you need a pro to relieve the stress in your muscles. A good massage can relief and decompress your lower back and help you get an all natural, better night of sleep. Check for some of the top rated masseuses in your area and ask if they can work on your back and upper legs. Another good choice is asking your physical therapist for a recommendation or for a list of at home massages.
9. Avoid the “Bad Side”
If you suffer from sciatic pain you know what side is your “bad side”. Make sure to always lay down in your most comfortable position when it is time for bed or you may be in for a long night.
10. Stick to a Routine
For some sleep comes easy – others need to stick to a strict nightly routine. Life in 2019 is full of distractions that can keep you up all night. If you are easily distracted and have problems sleeping at night due to pain and complications from sciatica I recommend creating a nightly routine and sticking to it!
A nightly routine that incorporates stretching, a bath and other activities to mentally prepare yourself for bed. Having trouble sticking to your routine? I find it easier if a create a pre-sleep checklist with all of my to do’s!
11. Try Sleep on the Floor
Sometimes your mattress does more harm than good! In some cases the best way to find a comfortable sleeping position is to lay out some blankets and sleep on the floor. I recommend building yourself a small pad out of a few blankets on some carpet – just make sure you can find a comfortable position. If you are sleeping on the floor make sure to tell your family so they don’t trip on you!
12. Try Melatonin
Melatonin is a powerful – but all natural sleep aid that helps most people fall asleep in as little as 30 minutes. It is safe for most people (including kids and the elderly) plus it is available at your local grocery store. I recommend taking a small amount 15 to 20 minutes before you want to fall asleep!
13. Get More Exercise
My favorite way to fall asleep faster is to get more exercise during the day. I find a long run or weight session in the gym is the best way to blow off some energy and wear out my muscles
3 Best Sciatica Sleeping Positions
Finding the right sleeping position is key to waking up feeling fresh – with or without sciatica. I put together a short list of my favorite sleeping positions, if you struggle getting comfortable try a few of these tonight in bed. Still struggling? You might need to try a special orthopedic pillow or additional padding.
1. Elevate Your Knees
My favorite way to get comfortable is to raise my knees. Start by laying flat on your back, pushing your ankles together and moving your heels towards your rear. If you need some support try using a pillow, blanket, rolled up towel or wedge pillow for extra balance.
2. Lay On Your Back
Lay flat on your back. Sleeping on your back is one of the best ways to relieve many kinds of lower back pain. The supine position can reduce sciatic irritation.
3. Side Sleeping
Side sleeping is one of the most popular ways to sleep wether you suffer from nightly discomfort or not. Most people use a few pillows and keep one leg in front of the other. This lets them spread out across the bed and take stress off the upper and lower back – just keep in mind you will need at least a queen sized mattress.
Worst Sleeping Position
The worst sleeping position if you are trying to sleep while suffering from sciatica is on your stomach. Laying flat on your stomach (or chest) puts the spine in an unnatural position that increase irritation and pain – even when using a pillow.