Tips For Sleeping With Sciatica
Sciatica is a common issue and can cause extreme discomfort and lack of sleep.
Sciatica pain is characterized by pain in the lower back, generally caused by a herniated disk that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve. (https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/what-is-sciatica) If you have Sciatica pain, you likely have pain in your lower back that radiates down to your thigh.
The sciatic pain can range anywhere from mild discomfort all the way up to extreme pain that you may need prescription medications to alleviate.
Some people have found that sleeping on the floor or a yoga mat can relieve the pain associated with Sciatica, but this isn't a long term solution for sciatic nerve pain. We asked a handful of Sciatica pain suffers what they do to sleep better at night.
Sleeping with this sort of sciatic pain isn't easy, but it also isn't impossible. If you set yourself up to succeed, you can get a good nights rest with sciatica.
Tips For Getting Good Sleep With Sciatica
If you have Sciatica, you may find yourself getting anxious before bed, anticipating another restless night. If this sounds like you, try these tips for promoting sleep quality.
1. Invest In a Mattress That Works For Your Body
Sciatica is an interesting disorder in that there isn't one type of mattress that's best for relieving it. The type of mattress thats best for you ultimately comes down to your sleeping position. Different sleep positions require a different type of mattress.
- If you're a stomach sleeper, go for a firmer mattress or medium firm mattress that will help keep your back straight throughout the night. Stomach sleeping requires a firm, flat sleep surface. Stomach sleepers often have the most issues, so this is the most important for their sciatica relief.
- If you're a side sleeper or back sleeper, a soft mattress will help cradle your body and support all areas of your spine, which can help you sleep more comfortably and relieve back pain.
Matching the right mattress with your preferred sleeping position can really help.
2. Use Extra Pillows To Support Your Back & Legs
If buying a new mattress is out of the question, you can start by using a few extra pillows every night, or even a body pillow. Place a small pillow in areas that you feel need extra support, such as the small of your back to reduce shooting pain.
The best sleeping position for sciatica is on your back with a pillow under your knees and your lower back. This ensures that your spine stays straight and supported throughout the night.
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3. Relax Before Bed
Getting relief from back pain (as well as hip pain and neck pain) isn't easy. There isn't one thing you can do to completely relieve back pain naturally. You can try things to help alleviate sciatica symptoms and ultimately relieve back pain, if even just temporarily.
If you have trouble getting comfortable before bed, try taking a warm bath and a few simple stretches an hour before bed. This will help relax your body and your mind, leading to more overall restful sleep.
Also, make sure that your bedroom is a good sleep environment. Stay away from blue lights, TV, and phone screens at least 1 hour before bed. These stimulations keep your brain active, which will make it harder to fall asleep, especially with sciatica.
4. Experiment with Hot and Cold Compresses Before Bed
Cold compresses help to dull sciatic nerve pain, whereas hot compresses or hot water bottle help to relax the pain away and reduce muscle spasms and improve sleep quality. Experiment with hot and cold compresses on the areas that are the most painful to find the best option for pain reduction.
Keep the compresses on for at least 15 minutes, and try to also relax during the process. A lot of sleep concerns are mental as much as they are physical. Relaxing with a compress before bed can go a long way in helping you sleep better overall.
Related Content: https://thesleepshopinc.com/best-mattress-for-sciatica/
5. If You're Prescribed Medications, Take Them & Listen To Your Doctor
This may sound obvious, but if your sciatica pain is bad enough that you had to seek medical attention, listen to what your doctor says! They have had a chance to examine you and listen to your specific symptoms.
If they prescribe medications, make sure you follow through with taking them on the proper schedule.
6. Best Sleeping Positions For Sciatica
When it comes to actually sleeping, there's a handful of options out there. Most people have a personal preference, but if you live with sciatica, you should train yourself to sleep in the position that's best suited for pain relief.
For many people, the best sleeping positions for sciatica are to sleep either on their back or on their side. This helps relieve pressure and helps keep your spine, hips, and pelvis at the correct alignment.
Living With Sciatica
All things considered, sciatica isn't the worst of the worst. In most cases, you don't need to seek professional medical attention and can find relief with simple home remedies.
With these tips, you can maximize the likelihood that you can get a good night's rest, even if you're suffering from sciatica.
Courtney is the reason The Sleep Shop exists. She’s a Seattle native with a passion for healthy sleep. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a major in marketing. She started The Sleep Shop to help friends and family choose a good mattress, and helped grow the site to what it is today. She does most of the product testing and reviews.