Getting a Good Nights Sleep with a Bad Back

Posted by Emilie von Unwerth on

According to a study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, about 60 - 80 percent of American adults experience chronic or acute low back pain. The 2012 study also revealed that each year 13 million people go to the doctor for chronic back pain, and that the condition is the leading cause in disability in Americans under 45 years old. And if you’ve ever had a bad back, you know just how awful waking up stiff and sore is; you’re usually grumpy, in pain, and don’t feel rested. So, if you’re looking to experiment with your routine and hopefully ease some pain, here are some natural ways to help you sleep better with a bad back.

  • Consider a new mattress.
    While general preference should dictate the type of surface you sleep on, if you’re waking up every day with severe back pain, your bed could be to blame. And while for many years doctors told us the firmer the mattress the better, a 2003 Spanish study found that medium firm beds were actually the best way to go. When going for foam beds, make sure you’re looking for a mattress with a dense foam core and multiple supportive layers. Memory foam - the material that makes up the Bear Mattress - is better for back support than latex. Memory foam helps align your spine perfectly by conforming and cradling the curves of your body.
  • Position matters.
    So let’s say you bought your mattress a couple years ago, and you’re pretty sure it’s not the problem. Perhaps you should consider changing the way you sleep at night.
    - If you’re a side sleeper, try resting a pillow between your knees to help better align the spine
    - If you prefer snoozing on your back, consider putting a firm pillow or a rolled up town under the backs of your knees. This both helps properly align your spine and reduces pressure on your sciatic nerve.
  • Sleep more
    We’re pretty sure we say this in every blog post, but studies show that a lack of sleep can increase back pain. So do your best to get those 8 hours.
  • Make lifestyle changes
    If you suffer from scoliosis, sciatica or another medical condition, getting a good night’s sleep seems nearly impossible. And while simple lifestyle changes may not seem like the passport to a great sleep, you could find yourself surprised with the results. Try things like
    - cutting out caffeine
    - not eating heavily before bed
    - gentle stretching exercises before bed (we’re huge fans of this yoga routine for bad backs)
    - minimizing stress
    All of these will help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer, even if you’re in pain.
  • Know when to seek medical attention
    If after making the aforementioned changes, you still suffer from back pain, go to the doctor. Your symptoms could worsen over time.
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