Tips For Sleeping With Sciatica
Sciatica is a common issue and can cause extreme discomfort and lack of sleep.
Sciatica 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, you likely have pain in your lower back that radiates down to your thigh.
The 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 can relieve the pain associated with Sciatica, but this isn't a long term solution. We asked a handful of Sciatica suffers what they do to sleep better at night.
Sleeping with this sort of 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 to help you sleep better.
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 how you sleep.
- If you're a stomach sleeper, go for a firmer mattress that will help keep your back straight throughout the night.
- If you're a side or back sleeper, a softer mattress will help cradle your body and support all areas of your spine, which can help you sleep more comfortably.
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. Place them in areas that you feel need extra support, such as the small of your back.
The best sleep 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
If you have trouble getting comfortable before bed, try taking a warm bath and stretching 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 pain, whereas hot compresses help to relax the pain away. Experiment with hot and cold compresses on the areas that are the most painful.
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.
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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.