Getting a good night’s rest is a basic need, but those who suffer from back pain know all too well how challenging sleep can be. After all, it’s hard to wake up rested when pain keeps you tossing and turning. If you’ve tried to alleviate pain and it’s still keeping you up, look to these tips to address some of the underlying issues involved.
Make Sure You Have the Right Support
The last thing you want is for your bed to make your pain worse. An obvious solution for getting rid of nighttime pain is to get a better mattress, which can also help your back feel better throughout the day. If you’re wondering if you should replace your mattress, if it’s creaky, sagging, or your back pain is worse in the mornings, consider those to be signs it’s time.
When shopping for a new mattress, focus on models and brands that are highly rated for back pain relief. Determining the best choice overall will depend on your preferred sleep position and firmness level. Purple, for example, is a soft-firm mattress that’s popular with side sleepers, while a WinkBed mattress is ideal for stomach or side sleepers who want extra support.
You may also wonder if you need to change your sleeping position. For most people, The University of Rochester Medical Center explains you need the right support and correct alignment to alleviate pain. You can get that alignment with any sleeping position simply by using extra pillows or pillows designed for your particular position.
Loosen Muscles Before Bed
One reason why back pain is so troublesome at night is that it interferes with your sleep, causing you to wake frequently. To prevent this from becoming such a problem in the first place, it may help to loosen your back muscles before bed. Try practicing yoga or doing other gentle stretches. Some of the best poses for back pain include child’s pose and a cat/cow sequence.
As Spine-Health explains, another great way to relax muscles is with heat therapy. You can easily apply heat therapy right before bed using a heating pad, or for a moist heat that you can bring to bed without worrying about using something electrical, try making a DIY rice sock heating pad. We also recommend taking a hot shower or bath before bed, which is just as soothing for your mind as it is good at reducing pain.
Relax Your Mind Before Bed
If you have a hard time getting to sleep at night, or you wake frequently and pain keeps you from getting back to sleep, you may be missing a critical component of good sleep hygiene: relaxing your mind before bed. Just like personal hygiene is the routine of bathing, brushing your teeth, and generally caring for yourself, sleep hygiene is a routine that promotes good sleep habits.
Relaxing your mind before bed is a critical part of sleep hygiene, and it can be whatever works best for you. Besides practicing yoga or taking a bath, you may want to try aromatherapy, soothing music, or reading a book. What’s even better news is that relaxation can do more than prepare your mind for bed – relaxation can also relieve pain, so it really is a win-win for getting better sleep!
Similar to other health habits, you may notice a snowball effect when you try these sleep strategies. After all, being well-rested is the foundation for everything else we do in life, from work and play to having enough energy to exercise. When you sleep better, exercise and other healthy living goals often fall into place… and continued pain relief and nighttime rest will follow.
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