A Comprehensive Guide on How to Sleep Better With Sciatica
Having sciatica comes with many challenges. Because it affects the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in our bodies, walking, sitting, and even sleeping can be uncomfortable.
But what can you do to get better sleep at night if you have this condition? First and foremost, consult your local doctor or primary physician.
To help you out at home, we’ve also created this guide on how to sleep with sciatica.
Let's dig in on our top tips to help you sleep with sciatica.
Adjust Your Sleeping Positions
One of the main reasons why you might be having trouble sleeping at night if you have sciatica could be your sleeping position. Sometimes, you may be unknowingly placing a stretch on the sciatic nerve, which can cause more pain to your lower back.
Now, how can you fix your sleeping position to eliminate the discomfort that accompanies sciatica?
A lot of people who suffer from sciatica find comfort when sleeping on their backs. But again, that position causes the sciatic nerve to stretch, which can end up being painful. To do this the right way, elevate your knees by placing a pillow under them.
If that doesn’t work out for you, you could consider sleeping on your side with a firm pillow between your legs.
Also, avoid sleeping on your stomach since this position flattens the natural curvature of your spine. Plus, it puts some strain on your neck because your head is turned to one side.
Even though this posture might give you some temporary relief, it could cause future back and neck pain.
Take a Hot Shower Before Bed
Another great idea to sleep better with sciatica is to take a hot shower or bath before going to sleep. This way, the heat will cause the muscles of the back and leg to relax, which should ease some of the pain that may be a result of a long day’s work.
In addition to that, the extra warmth on your skin could give the sciatic nerve the sensation that it’s gliding better down your lower back. As a result, you can get a nice degree of pain relief.
Besides, a warm bath will release pain-fighting endorphins, which is always welcome for someone with sciatica. Just remember to keep the water temperature warm and not too hot.
If you aren’t ready to take a shower or bath every night before bed, you could use a hot water
bottle instead. Place it on your lower back or wherever you need it to be to keep the pain at bay.
Do Some Stretches Before Going to Sleep
Yes, working out right before bed isn’t recommended. Yet, performing some simple stretches can relieve some of the discomfort associated with sciatica. Most of the following stretches can be done lying down so that you don’t find yourself wide awake after doing them.
Consider Changing Your Neck Pillow
If you sleep on a fluffy pillow, chances are it isn’t providing enough support to your neck while asleep. As a result, your cervical spine won’t be aligned, which does no good in reducing lower back pain later in the day.
It’s time that you fix that problem by investing in a high-quality neck pillow that will give your neck the support that it needs. Remember that the recommended height of a pillow is typically between 4 and 6 inches.
If you buy a pillow that’s any higher, you might end up with pain along your neck, shoulders, and back. That’s the last thing you want right now!
Try a Few Massage Techniques
It’s never a bad idea to learn some sciatica massages that you can try at home. These techniques can help ease lower back pain to enable you to get a good night’s sleep.
Besides stretching your body and having a warm shower, this massage therapy could be added to your nighttime routine. With all of them combined, you’ll have a higher chance of relaxing and falling asleep with no trouble.
Here are a couple of massage techniques you could give a shot using only your palm and fingers.
- Place your palms on your lower back, then rub the area in the direction of your spine and down toward your buttocks
- Put your hands on your waist, grip your sides with your fingers, then apply some pressure toward your spine
You can also benefit from your knuckles to apply pressure to relieve pain. The following steps explain how to do that properly.
- Lie on your back with your knees bending and your feet flat on the floor
- Form your hands into fists and position them on the right and left side of your lower back
- Make sure that your knuckles are against your back
- Stay in this position for one to two minutes
- Roll to your side, ending up in a fetal position
- Keep this position for about five minutes before finally standing up
Give Personal Care Equipment a Try
Some pieces of equipment can help relieve sciatica symptoms through acupressure. Of course, you’ll have to consult your doctor first to find out which item suits your condition. Plus, your doctor will inform you of the proper way to use your equipment to get the best out of it.
You may want to consider using the following:
- Tennis balls
- Spinal roller
Each one of these things works in a different way to eliminate the pressure on your sciatic nerve. So, once you determine which one is right for your needs, you could use it to reduce your pain and get better sleep.
Conclusion on Sleeping Better With Sciatica
Learning how to sleep with sciatica is essential in order to not keep waking up in the middle of the night because of the associated pain. Hopefully, you can easily achieve this goal by following a few of the simple recommended tips, which we’ve covered in-depth above.
Eventually, you should have some better and more fulfilling sleep to wake up to fresh in the morning and go about your day with no trouble.
Hello! My name is James, a researcher of pillows and getting a great night’s sleep with over 10 years of experience! Graduate of the University of Kansas with a Physiology Degree. I enjoy writing, camping, reading, traveling abroad, swimming, and educational research. Contact me at the social links below!