Last updated: May 2017. If you’re one the 61% (!!) of Americans suffering from lower back pain, you know how impossible it is to fall asleep with lower back pain.
And…when you can’t get a good night’s rest, your back pain gets worse (and studies have shown that you become more sensitive to pain as well!).
This forms a vicious cycle of lower back pain and insomnia which can easily ruin your life.
How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain (Without Pills)
The first step is, as always, finding the root cause of your low back pain.
Diagnosing your back pain is critical if you want to find a long-lasting solution. See a good doctor or a good chiropractor – if only to diagnose the problem accurately.
And now…5 truly effective ways to fall asleep without lower back pain:
1. Fix Your Sleeping Positions
Wouldn’t it be great to realize that the only cause of your back pain when sleeping is simply the way you sleep?
Most people sleep on their side, which is fine. However, this sleeping position leaves your upper leg unsupported, which causes your lower spine to rotate.
To prevent this place a side-sleeper pillow between your knees and thighs.
If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to maintain the normal curve of your lower back. Use a thinner pillow to support your neck without pushing it too far forward.
Sleeping on your stomach is definitely not recommended, but if you can’t sleep in any other position, place a stomach-sleeper pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.
One of the best investments you can make to eliminate low back pain from your sleeping position – is a good quality body pillow.
A body pillow is a game changer. No wonder all pregnant women want to have one.
It forces you to sleep in the right position while at the same time allowing you to experience the most comfortable sleep you’ve ever had.
Here’s a video demonstrating the correct sleeping positions for lower back pain:
2. Change Your Mattress
Sleeping on a sagging mattress can be a major contributor to back pain.
In a Journal of Applied Ergonomics study, nearly 63% reported significant improvements in low back pain after switching to a new sleep system.
Most people seem to sleep best on a medium-firm mattress, but you should choose a mattress that’s most comfortable for you.
If buying a new bed is not an option right now, you have 2 other effective options: The first one is adding plywood supports between the mattress and its base.
The second one is a 3 inch memory foam top like this one, which is relatively cheap yet can be all you’ll need to stop your night-time back pain.
(Here’s what to do if you have back pain AFTER sleeping)
3. Natural Pain Relief Cream
Applying a 100% natural pain relief cream is a good aid for chronic back pain in bed, and will help you fall asleep without low back pain, while speeding up the healing process in the area.
4. Far Infrared Heating Pad
This is one of the greatest (yet little known) inventions of all time.
Unlike the regular electrical heating pads (I would advise you to stay away from those), which only heat the surface of your skin, infrared heating pads are completely safe – without danger of burning or drying your skin.
The FIR heat pad provides a soothing warmth, which is hard to describe.
It is deep warmth, with no perceivable source, making the experience almost surreal. It dramatically reduces any ache or pain that I have, it is extremely relaxing and it helps me fall asleep – quickly and naturally.
5. Self Massage
A great way to relax your muscles and relieve lower back pain before you go to bed is self massage.
Try rolling on a trigger point foam roller before bed; you may be surprised how this little helper is all you need to fall asleep pain-free.
How to Prevent Low Back Pain at Night
A few more effective “tricks” are:
1. A hot shower – heat relaxes muscles and improves blood circulation, thus relieving pain.
2. Stop working at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
3. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine 2 hours before bedtime.
4. Avoid sugar and heavy meals at least 2 hours before sleeping.
5. Your bedroom should be completely dark and a bit cool.
6. Don’t stay in bed too long, it may increase muscle stiffness and back pain in the morning. When you wake up, roll on your side to get out of bed.
📣 Is it Good for Your Back to Sleep on a Hard Surface?
Some people think that the best mattress is no mattress at all. That sleeping on a hard surface can reshape the back and realign it.
Others think that sleeping on the floor is not a good idea. That it’s highly important to feel comfortable when you sleep to allow the healing effect of sleeping to occur.
There is no one answer that fits all. I believe that you should feel comfortable and relaxed when you sleep. So, if sleeping on a carpeted floor or a wooden floor feels comfortable – go for it.
If not – it’s probably no a good idea for you.
This concludes my best recommendations for how to fall asleep and stay asleep when you suffer from nocturnal back pain.
Chances are that with persistence and proper treatment, you can get long-lasting relief from the pain in your lower back, develop normal sleep patterns, and enjoy quality sleep (and life) again.
What about you? What has worked best for you so far? Share with us in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,