For people who suffer with sciatica, trying to sleep comfortably can be extremely difficult. Nights can be spent tossing and turning due to the pain causing so much discomfort.
For those who don’t know, sciatica is a type of back pain caused by the sciatic nerve becoming irritated. This most commonly happens due to a disc slipping and pressing on the nerve.
The pain can be awful, and is often felt throughout the whole body, primarily in the back, arms and legs. If you have sciatica and you struggle to find a comfortable position when trying to get to sleep, then keep reading to find out what the best sleeping position for sciatica is.
Lie on Your Back
Sleeping flat on your back is generally considered to be one of the best sleeping positions for people with sciatica. This is because your weight is distributed evenly around your body, and no added pressure is being put on your back
Keep Your Knees Elevated
Whilst sleeping on your back is considered to be the best position, there is something extra you need to do, as some people can still feel uncomfortable when just lying flat on the bed.
Something that you need to do when sleeping on your back, and are suffering with sciatica pain, is to elevate your knees.
So, your back, bum and heels should all be touching the bed, and your knees should be bent so that they are facing towards the ceiling. You can then place a pillow, or a few, under your knees to help you feel more comfortable in that position, and to stop you from slipping out of that position during the night.
Sleep on Your Side
Sleeping on your side is considered to be the second-best sleeping position for people with sciatica. This is because it provides a nice sense of relief from the back pain, and also reduces some of the pressure being put on the lower back.
Sleeping on your side means there isn’t any pressure being put on your muscles, spinal discs or sciatic nerve and so will help you to feel nice and comfortable when in bed. When sleeping on your side you need to make sure that your spine and hips are straight and that your knees are tucked up slightly towards your chest.
Place a Pillow Between Your Legs
When sleeping on your side, you might still feel a little discomfort, and you might find yourself slipping out of the position as you fall asleep.
So, a good idea is to put a pillow in between your legs or thighs in order to help reduce the pressure even more, and to make that position as comfortable as possible. You can also place a cushion under your waist too for added comfort and support.
Don’t Sleep on Your Stomach
The worst position to sleep in if you have sciatica is to sleep on your stomach. This is a position that even people who don’t have sciatica should avoid.
It tends to greatly increase back pain levels and has even been shown to cause damage to nerves. Furthermore, it has been found that sleeping on your stomach can also lead to the important, natural curve of the spine to flatten which can cause even more permanent pain and discomfort.
Sleep on a Good Mattress
Something else that is extremely important when finding the right position to sleep with sciatica, is to make sure that you are sleeping on a good mattress.
A mattress that is too hard or too soft can add pressure to your back and aggravate your sciatica pain. Therefore, a good type of mattress to invest in is one that is of medium firmness, and that is designed to fully support your back, hips, neck, shoulders and knees.
Have a look online to see what mattresses other people with sciatica have bought.
Try Sleeping on The Floor
If you have tried all different sleeping positions and still can’t find one that relieves the pain, then a good idea is to try and sleep on the floor.
Whilst this isn’t something recommended by doctors and specialists, it’s something that people with sciatica have said works for them.
Grab a yoga mat or towel, make sure you have a good pillow for your head, legs and back, and try out a few different positions and see if it helps to alleviate your pain.
For some people sleeping on the floor will cause the pain to be worse, and if this is you then you should definitely get straight back up and return to sleeping on a good mattress.
There are a few other little tips that can help you to feel more comfortable when sleeping with sciatica pain that don’t relate entirely to the position you sleep in.
Exercise Lightly Before Sleep
A good thing to do is to do some gentle back exercises and stretches before you go to sleep. This can help to alleviate some of the pain, which will help you to more easily find a comfortable position and will also help you to fall asleep quicker.
Child’s pose is a great, really gentle, one that you can do before bed, alongside other hip, knee and glute exercises.
Have a Warm Bath
Another good tip is to have a nice warm bath before you go to bed. This is a great way to alleviate sciatica pain, so you can go to bed feeling relaxed and pain-free, which will help make it a lot easier to find that comfortable sleeping position.
Furthermore, having a warm bath releases endorphin, which relaxes the muscles. This means your muscles won’t be tense or under pressure, and so it is going to be a lot easier to fall asleep comfortably.
You need to make sure you have the bath just before you go to bed so that you can come out of the bath feeling relaxed and sleepy, able to fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow!
So, there you have everything you need to know about finding the best sleeping position for sciatica. Overall, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach and you should make sure that you have lots of pillows and cushions there to support you. Utilise all these tips and tricks and you’ll be able to sleep soundly, free from sciatica pain in no time!