Back pain and sleep are old enemies, and unless you take active steps to combat back pain, a good night’s sleep can soon become a distant memory! Thankfully, there are ways to ensure a good night’s rest, even if you are suffering from chronic pain. Stay with us as we discuss a few tips on how not to lose sleep on account of back pain by making a few simple changes.
Figure Out What Kind of a Sleeper You Are
There are primarily three types of sleepers, but there are variations to even these three broad categories:
- Back sleepers – People who spend a majority of their sleeping hours lying on their back
- Side sleepers – Those who spend most of their sleeping hours lying on one shoulder or the other
- Belly sleepers – People who prefer to sleep on their stomach for most of the night
However, there is also a fourth kind of sleeper, known as the combination sleeper. If you are a combination sleeper, then you probably shift on your bed multiple times throughout the night. Most combination sleepers are well aware of their sleeping habits, since the majority wake up for brief periods in between.
Those with back pain will often find it to be the cause for making frequent changes in their sleeping positions, as the body desperately tries to find the most comfortable position. There could be other reasons for being a combination sleeper as well, but lower back pain and neck pain are often the cause.
If you are not sure about your sleeping preferences, ask your partner, or just note down the position you last remember lying in before falling asleep, and also note your position after waking up. Do this for a week and it should become obvious. Once you have figured out your natural sleeping position, it’s time for the next step.
Find a Mattress Designed for Your Sleeping Style
People are often surprised by how much of a difference the right mattress can make, provided that they make the right choice of course. Unfortunately, we don’t always make the right choice because we just don’t know how to do so.
As you now know the kind of sleeping position or positions your body prefers, it’s time to find a mattress with the right balance of softness and firmness to support the back while you sleep. If you successfully manage to match your new mattress’s firmness and features with your sleeping habits, then restful, uninterrupted sleep will finally become a reality. Check out the following pointers which will help you to make the right choice:
- Back sleepers will sleep best on mattresses with medium to high firmness and low motion transfer
- Softer mattresses with pressure relieving polymer or foam are good options for side sleepers as it reduces spine curvature and allows the shoulders to comfortably sink in
- Belly sleepers or stomach sleepers require a medium-firm mattress to sleep comfortably
- Combination sleepers should go with medium firmness and pressure relieving materials to sleep peacefully
- Those who suffer from bedsores should invest in a low air loss mattress for pressure relief
Change Your Sleeping Habit If You Sleep on Your Stomach
According to doctors, back sleepers enjoy the best possible sleeping position. Sleeping in a supine position is good for alleviating back pain as well, provided the bed is firm and orthopedically designed. However, nearly half the population sleeps on their sides, while less than 10% of people sleep on their back, in a prone position. Side sleeping is not the healthiest position, but the excess pressure on our sides can be managed easily, as long as we sleep on a soft, pressure relieving bed.
Unfortunately for stomach sleepers, they have the worst possible sleeping habit for their backs. A firm bed can certainly help, but it’s better to try and transition towards becoming a back sleeper or a side sleeper, because even if you don’t have back pain right now, you will likely develop spinal problems down the line. In fact, if you had always slept on your stomach, it could very well be the reason why you have back pain today.
Falling Asleep Faster with Temperature Control
A cool room helps us sleep better and faster during the summer, while being warm and cozy has the same effects in winter. The idea is that back pain flares up in extreme weather conditions, so try to cool down or heat up the bedroom before getting into bed. This will make it easier to fall asleep faster, and your back pain won’t flare up like it usually does.
We also have access to smart thermostats these days, and they can adjust the heating/cooling in accordance with the sleeper’s pre-programmed preferences. Modern smart thermostats can also maintain the most optimum temperature for a good night’s sleep automatically. Combined with the right mattress, this can lead to hours of uninterrupted and peaceful sleep, despite having chronic back pain. In fact, attention to these details and a few nights of good sleep may also improve your back pain during waking hours.