A women smiling as she lies in bed as the sun rises

A Beginner's Guide to Sleeping with Lower Back Pain


Written by fitness expert Chris. Last updated:

Over the course of the past several days, the invigorating experience of a good night’s sleep has escaped your grasp, interrupted by the reemergence of your chronic lower back pain. And no matter how you’ve tossed and turned, trying to get positioned comfortably upon your worn out mattress, the nagging pain and discomfort have kept you awake. If lower back pain has been keeping you up at night, take heart, as you are not alone.

As low back pain statistics indicate, this uninvited bedroom guest afflicts over 30 million of us each year and, at one time or another, will inevitably cause 8-out-of-10 people to miss out on valuable sleep. But doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep daily to keep our bodies healthy and minds sharp. The unwanted bedtime guest known as low back pain, which can be acute or chronic in nature, has a variety of possible causes which we will now explore.

These Chronic Lower Back Pain Conditions May be Disrupting Your Sleep

A man in his office who has a lower bad back

According to the Mayo Clinic online chronic, or long-term, back pain stems usually from a number of pre-existing medical conditions, including:

  • A past traumatic injury to your spine like a car accident, fall or sports injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Getting older and body “wear-and-tear”
  • A past back surgery
  • Bulging or ruptured spinal disks
  • Osteoporosis

To get you “back” on track towards a full night’s sleep, there is some positive news with respect to alleviating the onset and symptomatic intensity of low back pain. In fact, there are several tried and true methods to help ensure that when your head hits the pillow the next thing you will be hearing should be your alarm clock waking you up for work. Let’s take a look at some of these back pain-reducing, sleep-inducing recommendations now.

Toss that Old Mattress to the Curb

Does the surface of your current mattress exhibit bulging, sagging or an indented appearance? Or, is it more than 10 years old? If you answered “yes” to any part of those questions, it’s time to throw that thing out with next week’s trash. Then, buy a new, back healthier one based upon the firmness and material of the mattress. Firmness means how it feels when you lay down totally reclined, and mattresses come in a variety of support levels, from very soft to really firm.

According to recent studies conducted by back specialists, a medium firmness mattress actually works the best for many chronic back pain sufferers. However, a heavier person with wider hips tends to feel more comfortable on a softer product, while conversely, a thinner individual with narrow hips sleeps better on a more firm bed surface. Ideally, your spine needs to be aligned in its natural position, even while lying down and asleep.

The next factor to consider is the material itself that the mattress is constructed from, inside and out. And, for the most part, this is dependent on personal preference. Mattresses come composed of foam, latex, coiled inner springs, air and adjustable firmness. Oh, and for anyone who lived the water bed craze of the 1970’s and 80’s, those definitely were not the most “back friendly” choices out there!

In any event, the best mattresses have been found to be the ones with adjustable firmness settings. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive, and many of us cannot afford that level of comfort in our bedrooms. So overall, let your body be your guide as it directs you to select the right mattress in order to facilitate a full night’s sleep, while also helping to relieve your lower back pain issues.

Build a Solid Core to Support Your Spine

A woman training her core using a yoga ball

In the last section, the importance of mattress support in alleviating lower back pain was discussed. Another method to employ is actually strengthening your core back muscles that will be resting on that surface.  Research has determined that when you use core back muscle strengthening and stretching exercises, your spine is better supported during the day, and even at night while you twist and turn, resulting in less stress to your lower back.

This will go a long way in preventing a subsequent low back pain flare-up and reduce the inflammation, discomfort, and aching that accompany such episodes. Working out your body’s core also has so many other back health issue-resolving benefits moving forward, including these:

  • Releases natural pain relievers into your system like endorphins and serotonin
  • Promotes better circulation and oxygenation to your spinal tissues
  • Facilitates more rapid healing, including stressed back muscles
  • Helps reduce mental stress which can exacerbate lower back pain
  • Causes you to be more tired at bedtime which will help you sleep soundly

Bottom line: A stronger back and trunk muscle core will help you sleep soundly during the night, while warding off the unwanted bedroom companion known as low back pain.

Good Posture Even in Bed Leads to a Deeper Sleep

Diagram to show a good sleeping position

 Proper posture goes a long way in improving the condition of your pain-ravaged back, including while you are asleep. In fact, employing good posture throughout the day may be the easiest way to help reduce the onset and symptoms of chronic lower back pain problems. As a rule, most of us, whether it’s standing or sitting down, slouch without even realizing it. And slouching has been found to increase lower back pain, while also causing a number or other deleterious physiological, workplace and even social effects. Proper posture, on the other hand, goes a long way in reversing those bad outcomes.

While awake, you want to consciously keep your chin up and out, shoulders back, and spine straight. Now during a period of sleep, it’s of course impossible to know if you are keeping your spine aligned in its natural position, or is it? But more on that in a moment… Good posture promotes so many healthy bodily and social outcomes, including the fact it makes you feel better, come across to others as more confident and successful, and stimulates better cardiovascular function and healing rates.

Invite Lumo Lift Posture Coach into Your Bedroom for a Better Night’s Sleep

A great way to keep the unwelcomed bedroom “guest” known as lower back pain away is by inviting the Lumo Lift to take its place. Our Posture Coach is a technologically- advanced, wearable sensor and monitoring system that collects posture data all day, while you are at work, school, out for some fun, etc.,  It quietly collects posture information and stores it 24/7 for you to access later via any iOS or Android device.

Not only that, but the sensor, which is about the size of a lapel pin, will alert you with a gentle vibration whenever you are slouching or otherwise using poor posture, including while asleep! Oh, and the small sensor can be discretely and conveniently worn on your clothing, even on your sleep attire. So, to begin enjoying a more restful and comfortable, full night’s sleep with the help of your new bedroom partner, the Lumo Lift Posture Coach, you can learn more now at feelpeak.com.

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