Lower back pain can cause your nights to be no different from the labors that your daily tasks burden you with. The difference being that you deal with pain and discomfort, and not necessarily tiredness. If you experience lower back pain, you shouldn’t keep the matter waiting. In fact, according to a study done by the Global Burden of Disease, back pain is the top global cause of disability.

You still deserve better nights though, as you plan on seeking medical check-up. Here are the 10 best ways to sleep with lower back pain, but don’t use them as substitutes for a consultation with a doctor.

10 Best Ways To Sleep With Lower Back Pain

1. Sleep on your back with knee support

Sleeping on the back is reputed as the best sleeping position. If you do not wish to draw back problems in the first place, try to sleep on your back for as much as you remember to.

Sleeping on your back spreads your weight over the largest surface area possible. Evenly distributed loads are easier to bear at your body’s pressure points. You thus achieve a better spine and neck alignment.

To sleep in this position, lie on your back with your head facing straight up. Place one pillow to support your neck and head, and another under your knees.

2. Sleep on one of your sides with a pillow between your legs

If you don’t really like sleeping on your back, side sleeping becomes your preferred position. If not done properly, side sleeping can strain the spine out of its neutral position, triggering spine pains.

The best way to side-sleep is by placing a pillow between your legs. The pillow raises the leg on the upper side, relieving pivoting strain. It thus corrects the alignment of the hips and pelvis and the spine.

Simply lay on your bed by one of your sides (preferably the left side) and place a pillow between your legs at the knees. You can snuggle a bit to firmly hold the pillow.

3. Sleep in the fetal position

You probably have seen an illustration of a human fetus that’s a few weeks to birth. You must have wondered if they strain in that coiled up position, but didn’t ask anyway. It turns out that this position is super-comfortable and spine-friendly.

Sleeping in this position is particularly beneficial to people with a herniated disc. Curling oneself during sleep tends to open up the joints between the spine vertebrae, reducing the chance of herniation.

To use this position, get on the bed and lay on one side. Place your head pillow and bring up your knees. When the back feels straight, take your nap.

4. Sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your belly

Unless you have some superhuman capabilities to breathe through the pillow, sleeping on your stomach will inevitably force you to face on one side. It can sometimes be your only option if the other positions do not suit you.

With a pillow pushing your lower back up a bit, the pressure in the vertebral discs is relieved. This position is particularly good for people with degenerative disc disease and/or a herniated disc.

After getting into your bed, roll on to your front and place a slender pillow under your stomach and hips. This raises the mid-section a little. Adjust your (flat) head pillow and enjoy the night.

5. Sleep on your stomach with your face down

This is what I thought wasn’t possible – to sleep with your face down. It seems there are ways to do so, though not easy. To avoid straining your neck and shoulder area, you would consider sleeping with your face down when sleeping on your stomach.

This position requires an additional pillow under your stomach and something to allow your breathing.

After rolling on to your front, place a thin pillow under your lower abdomen to raise the mid-section. Use a flat pillow to support your forehead for you to breathe adequately.

6. Sleep with your back slightly reclined

Napping on a recliner might be such a satisfying thing, but trust me; it is not the best thing for you unless you have isthmic spondylolisthesis.

A recliner bed is a good alternative to a recliner chair. With the adjustable bed, you can align the bed for optimum support.

When one lies on the adjusted recline, the angle between the thighs and trunk creates a pull in the spine vertebrae, reducing the pressure in an isthmic spondylolisthesis patient’s spine.

7. Stretch before you sleep

Stretching is one of the best ways of relieving pressure off your muscles and initiating relaxation. Back exercises can greatly improve your situation.

One of the best stretches is lying flat on your back and bringing one of your knees to your chest while maintaining the other leg on the ground. Hold the leg close to your chest for about 10 seconds and repeat with the second leg.

8. Use the right pillow

A pillow, more so a head pillow, is usually underrated. Your pillow must perform the function of maintaining the natural posture of the neck before you even think of comfort. Whereas a good pillow must be comfortable also, it must be versatile for different sleeping positions and maintain its shape.

A pillow should ideally last you between 12 and 18 months. Beyond that period, it is no longer in good shape.

If you prefer sleeping on your back or your stomach, use a thin pillow to avoid raising your head too much. A thicker pillow would better suit a side sleeper, to maintain the neck properly aligned with the back. Always go for memory foam pillows.

9. Use the right mattress

The mattress you sleep on could be the very source of your lower back pain. Don’t settle for just any mattress- learn to choose the best.

A good mattress should be fully supportive and comfortable. Whereas a firm mattress offers the best support (but not comfort, unfortunately), a medium-density mattress has been demonstrated to suit people with lower back pain.

People with wide hips will generally need a softer mattress than those with slimmer hips to maintain proper spine alignment.

Memory foam works best as it conforms to your body contour, offering maximum support.

Do not use a mattress for more than 10 years; should you think it has something to do with your back pain.

You can check the list of top 10 cheap comfortable mattress and top 15 memory foam mattresses below that are perfect for strong back support, comfort, and pain & pressure relief.

10. Observe proper sleep hygiene

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is better for dealing with lower back pain than sleeping longer. Observe these sleeping guidelines to avoid worsening your condition:

  • Sleep for seven-nine hours every day
  • Avoid stimulants before bed
  • Stay away from your screen at least 30 minutes before bed
  • Dim your bedroom lights and lockout any noise as you sleep

Even though these do not alleviate the pain, they reduce the chances of disturbance mid-sleep.


Sleep is one of the human basic needs. Without quality sleep, most other daily activities won’t get as much attention as you’d have paid. Do not let the pain stop you. The best way to sleep with lower back pain would be following the above guidelines.

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