Not being able to fall sleep is bad enough, but when you're unable to snooze because of excruciating back pain, you're likely to be extra cranky next day. Plus, a lack of sleep can cause weight gain, make you more susceptible to colds and other illnesses, and can also shorten your life. Here are some things you can do to get some relief from that aching back tonight.
- Postdinner shower: Muscle tension caused by stress can make it hard for anyone to relax enough to get Zs. Run a hot bath or shower and spend some time massaging your shoulders and neck under the warm, soothing water.
- Yoga before bed: Tight hips, hamstrings, abs, and back muscles can all contribute to lower back pain. Take a few minutes before bed to target those areas with this yoga sequence designed to reduce back pain. If you run and suffer from a tight or sore back, try these pain-relieving stretches for runners. Pregnancy can also cause back pain, so here are yoga poses for mommas-to-be.
- Check your sleep position: Belly and side sleepers tend to suffer from more back pain while sleeping, or wake up in pain. When on the belly, your spine isn't supported and will arch toward the floor, compressing your lower vertebrae. If you prefer your side, the top knee and thigh slides forward, rotating the lower spine. To keep your spine in a neutral position, sleep on your back with pillows under your knees, or if lying on your side is a must, place a pillow between your knees to prevent your spine from twisting in one direction. If these positions don't work, and you crave lying on your belly, reduce discomfort by placing a pillow underneath your pelvis. Use a flat pillow underneath your head to avoid strain on the neck and upper back.
More ways to prevent back pain while sleep after the break.
- Check your mattress: Before springing for a new bed, if your mattress is two-sided, give it a flip. If it's one-sided, turn it 180-degrees so the place where your head was is now at your feet. This can lengthen the life of your mattress and give your back the support you need. If your mattress is 10 years or older, it's probably time to buy a new one. Try out firmer models that won't sag under the weight of your body, causing your spine to bend. Whether you choose one made with springs or one made completely out of foam, since you spend over 55 hours a week on it, opt for a higher-quality model and your back will be grateful you did.
- Watch your weight: Reducing pain while you sleep may be as simple as reducing your waistline. Extra pounds add unnecessary pressure on your spine, especially if you tend to carry weight around your belly. Eat right and exercise daily, and you're sure to notice a difference in bed. Getting regular exercise can also reduce inflammation and muscle tightness.
- Get strong: Toning your core can reduce pain caused by weakness as well as strain from muscular imbalances. Try this five-minute core challenge to strengthen your entire torso.