Although sciatica stretches, exercises and treatments can help relieve the pain of this condition; it can still trouble you at night. Lying with an incorrect posture can exacerbate sciatica, and the pain can even affect your sleeping habits. If you are struggling to sleep with sciatica, try these simple tips.
1. Lie on your back
Lying on your back can be a good way to relieve sciatic pain. However, lying flat out with your legs extended can strain the sciatic nerve. Instead, try lying flat with your knees slightly elevated on a pillow. This technique is recommended for various types of low back pain.
2. Lie on your side
Those who are more comfortable lying on their side should also find a position that bends the knees. Bring your knees up toward your head slightly, to relieve the tension in your back. Place a pillow between your legs to support the top leg and keep your hips level.
3. Sleep on one side only
If you have more lower right or lower left back pain, you may need to sleep on one side only. To prevent yourself from turning over, try blocking yourself in with pillows. Some people wear pajamas with pockets and place a tennis ball in one pocket. This stops you from lying on that side.
4. Avoid sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach can aggravate sciatic pain. If you are used to sleeping on your stomach, take steps to avoid this. Try placing pillows on either side of you to stop yourself from turning over. You can also try the tennis ball method.
5. Change mattresses
A firm, supportive mattress is the best option if you have sciatica. If you can afford a new mattress, consider making a switch. The investment may be worth it for the long-term sciatica pain relief it can bring. Some people even find sleeping on the floor, with a towel or yoga mat, can help.
6. Use a body pillow
A body pillow can offer additional support for your chosen sleeping position. It is easy to place between your legs to keep your legs, hips, and pelvis in line. It can also help keep you in one position and may add comfort to your night’s rest.
7. Stretch before bed
A few sciatica exercises before bed may help relax you and prevent a flare up as you sleep. This is particularly helpful if the condition causing the sciatica is affected by tense muscles. Make sure to keep the exercises gentle, as you do not want to make yourself too alert and unable to sleep.
8. Use heat or cold
A warm bath can be a great way to relax tense muscles. Try incorporating a soak into your night-time routine. This can also help you get to sleep faster. If you use hot or cold compresses to treat your sciatic pain, you can also try using one of these before bedtime.
9. Practice good sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to beneficial sleeping habits. Ideally, you should turn off all electronic screens an hour before you sleep, as these can prevent you from resting properly. A nightly routine can also help you relax for bed. This can help ensure you fall asleep as quickly as possible before you start to feel any sciatic pain.
10. Try different options
Different methods can work for different people. It is important to remember that sciatica is a symptom, rather than a condition with a single cause and treatment. You may find a sleeping practice that works best for you, but not others. Try different ideas until you find one that works.
11. Speak with a professional
If you are unable to find relief, seek out the help of a professional. It might be that you have a medical condition causing sciatica and need a doctor. In general, however, a chiropractor can provide advice on physical techniques to help you sleep. Massage and other non-surgical treatments can also be hugely beneficial in providing relief.