7 Ways To Sleep Better Even with Severe Lower Back Pain

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Lower back pain is very commonly seen in people who sit for long periods of time, lift heavy weights regularly or are heavy and inactive.

It could be a mild, dull, occasional ache or a constant nagging irritation. A sign of it getting worse is when the pain starts traveling down one or both legs (i.e. sciatica). Increased body fat, especially around the abdomen, makes the lower back more vulnerable because of increased mechanical pressure & lack of muscle support.

Once that happens, sleeping with back pain becomes difficult, but you still need to sleep, don’t you?

You know that getting the right amount of sleep is really important for several reasons… For example, after a long day at work, sleeping is the only time when your body can rest and relax.

So if you do not get the right amount of sleep, you can never expect yourself to be productive during the morning.

And worse, this may result in several health problems like weight gain, heart disease and much more (I know it sounds scary, but it’s true). Hence, you should always sleep properly and get the recommended hours of sleep to avoid such problems, but…

How do you do it with back pain? Here are the seven tips that can help you make your life better almost immediately.

image showing beige themed bedroom during daytime

1. Use a Firm Mattress

Check on the mattress that you are using and make sure that it is not very old. If you have been using the same mattress for about ten years or more, then it is time for you to replace it with a new one.

If you are suffering from lower back pain, a very soft mattress may not be the best option for you to take into consideration. A firm mattress (or mattress topper) is ideal for back pain relief. If you're having back issues then be sure to read our mattress topper for back pain guide.

Also, you should actually pay attention to this matter because a wrong mattress will just worsen your condition. Carefully consider your needs and personal preferences to pick the most appropriate mattress possible.

Pro Tip:

Even the very best mattress for sleep will not negate the damage you might be making to your back during the day. For example, if you spend a lot of time in the office sitting, then you should take the time to learn more about office ergonomics.

2. You Shouldn't Stay So Long In Bed As Well

Even if you feel severe pain and you really want to lie down, you should not be tempted to do so. The more time you spend lying in bed, the more the pain is likely to increase.

In other words, lying in bed for a long period of time will do nothing good to your condition – it will just make it worse because more pressure will be on your lower back (It gets even worse if you lie on your stomach).

You should not exceed about eight hours in bed, especially if you feel it gets worse, the more time you spend in bed.

Close-up of a woman with pink headphones listening music

3. Listen To Slow Music Before Sleeping Time

Human body is amazing at learning. In fact, it can learn anything, including pain! This is why quite a lot of pains and aches, even when they do not have organic origin anymore, continue.


This is because our body learned the pain and it continues to suffer. What can you do about it? Focus on something else of course.

This is when calm music that you truly enjoy comes into play. You might easily get caught up in the joy of listening to your favorite tunes and after a while notice that back pain is not there anymore.

It sounds too simple, but it simply works.

Pro Tip:

Guided meditation is becoming more and more popular. Apps like Headspace are quite remarkable at what they do and how they help people. For example, you can find meditations that help you with Anxiety (which can easily cause back and other types of pain).

Check it out.

4. Think Of Buying Sleeping Aids

You can also purchase some sleeping aids that are really intended for people like you, who are suffering from lower back pain. For instance, you can purchase a support wedge pillow that you can place on your back while sleeping.

You can also choose the most appropriate position that would help reduce the pain like sleeping on your back. This position is recommended for people who are suffering from lower back pain.

Learn More: How to Sleep on a Wedge Pillow

image showing decorative and sleeping pillows with white bed linen

5. Use your pillows well

And lastly, you will need a pillow to be placed on your knees and another pillow that would provide proper support for your head and neck.

Mind you, pillows, just like mattresses, are quite different. In fact, an improper pillow can also cause your neck to hurt and that in itself can lead to headaches, muscle spasms and so on.

Here are 10 great cervical pillows that aim to reduce neck pain.

6. Avoid Electronics

You should think of turning off all the electronics in the house at least thirty minutes before you head for bed.

Your body can be confused as to what time of the day it is by the light emitted from your devices making, it difficult for you to fall sleep with or without back pain.

For example, we have a rule in our house – we never take phones to the bedroom with us (we leave them in the kitchen), so that there is zero screen light and electronics in there. Talking of screen light, remember that you should avoid blue light that comes out of every screen.

Apps like f.lux are magnificent for that.

young woman doing yoga indoors

7. Follow A Nightly Routine

The first step in setting up a nightly routine is to pick the time, when you will be going to bed. Make sure it will be enough for you to fall asleep and sleep for, at least, 8 hours every night.

For example, if you know that it now takes you 30 minutes to fall asleep and you need to get up at 6.30am, then you should be in bed at 10pm – latest.

Then, pick at least two unwinding exercises to practice every night prior going to bed. Calm stretching is ideal for slowing down your Central Nervous System.

You can also use some heat, as it helps to make you feel sleepy.

After some time, following a steady nightly routine will flag to your mind that it's the ideal opportunity for sleep. This routine is based on the principle that falling asleep can be learned and made a habit.



So, these were our 7 tips on how to sleep at night even if you have back pain.

We also would like to remind you that, if you have back pain for a prolonged amount of time, you need to pass by a doctor to confirm there is nothing too serious there.

You should also know that, at times, fixing back pain is a matter of one visit to a knowledgeable, experienced chiropractor, so don’t despair!

Recommended Reading:

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Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

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