Did you know that as much as 75-85% of the American population experiences back pain at least once in their lifetime? At least 50% of them report on experiencing more than one episode during one year. (I certainly fit into both categories).
Back pain significantly reduces the quality of our life, especially when it comes to sleeping with back pain. Knowing how important sleep is, we want to share five amazing tips that will help you to improve your sleep quality despite feeling back pain.
5 Tips that will help you sleep better despite your back pain
Sleep is important to anyone. But getting a good night’s sleep can be more important to certain individuals. Hockey players, for example, like any other professional athletes need a good sleep schedule to maintain their head in the game. Their overall athletic performance, focus, and success all depend on their sleep quality, among other lifestyle factors.
A 2016 study investigated the sleep quality and insomnia rate among professional athletes. The results showed that 14 out of 107 hockey players experienced sleep issues such as insomnia. 22% of them experienced such issues off-season, while up to 46% experienced these issues during the competitive season.
Another study showed that many hockey players struggled with back pain with the prevalence being as high as 68.3%. As discussed, back pain could be the factor that would explain the present sleep issues. And so, we are sharing the following sleep tips that we hope would be helpful to anyone struggling with back pain, including professional hockey players. If you happen to be one of them or maybe know someone that could use these tips, please be kind enough to share them.
- Invest in a high-quality mattress
Sleeping on a good mattress is important for everyone, especially for those of you who are experiencing back pain. Your old, worn off mattress may as well be the cause behind your worsening back pain. But which mattress should you choose?
In the past, doctors recommended their patients to choose a firm mattress as a way to reduce their back pain. However, those opinions changed throughout the past couple of years. Today, doctors believe that a medium-firm mattress is the best fit for those struggling with back pain.
Why not take a look at the popular Bear mattresses and see what they have to offer? The Bear mattresses have been reviewed as one of the best ones on the market today. With their Celliant Sleep Technology and Smart Yarn Technology, the Bear mattresses provide good support and comfort for quite an affordable price.
- Use heat to relax your muscles.
Heat therapy is one of the most commonly used treatment methods for back pain. This is also a great at-home treatment method that you can practice as needed, simply by using a heating pad. Heat therapy will help soothe your back pain by improving the blood circulation, relieving inflammation, and improving back stiffness.
There are various heating pads that you can use – from electronic and infrared to heated gel packs. Whichever one you choose, do use it according to the provided instructions. Simply apply the heating pad on your back and wait until it works its magic and relaxes your muscles. And if you do not have a heating pad, you can always relax your muscles by taking a nice hot shower or even a bath before bed.
- Engage in daily physical activity
Many patients with back pain avoid exercise, thinking that it will worsen their symptoms. This is one of the greatest mistakes that you can make. Physical activity, when done properly, can help soothe not only your back pain but also improve the overall quality of your life, including your sleep.
While you should always avoid doing high-intensity cardio and any heavy weight lifting when dealing with back pain, there are many other safe and effective workouts that you can do. Stretching exercises, especially yoga, can help strengthen your back and core, thus reducing your back pain.
In addition, this will also help relax your muscles and induce sleep, especially when done before your bedtime. Cycling, walking, and jogging are some other great options that you can look into as well. The trick is to learn and respect your limit. You can also consult your doctor on this matter and ask for their professional opinion.
- Find the perfect sleep position
Once you have bought yourself the perfect mattress, it is time to find the best sleeping position possible. A good sleeping position for back pain is the one that allows an equal distribution of the pressure on your whole spine and back.
Sleeping on the stomach, for example, places the most strain right on your back, which is why this position is a big no-no. On the other hand, sleeping on the back seems to be the most popular sleeping position among those with back pain. When you sleep on your back, there is an even distribution of your body weight on your back, which helps relieve back pain. You can increase the soothing effect by placing a pillow behind your knees, which will further help to maintain the normal curvature of the spine.
Another great sleeping position for back pain is sleeping on the side. Just make sure that you draw your knees close to your chest and even place a pillow between your legs. This will reduce the pressure on your spine and will make sleeping in this position even more comfortable.
- Develop a relaxing wind-down routine
The wind-down routine is when you dedicate some time all to yourself to relax and improve your sleep quality. Think of this as an opportunity to take a moment away from any electronics, stress, and worries to help your body and mind relax so that you fall asleep faster and better.
This is a great time to use that heating pad that we discussed or perhaps a hot shower/bath. Maybe you will get some reading down, listen to music, or do yoga. Whatever gets your mind away from the everyday worries and problems is a big yes.
Is your annoying back pain waking you up in the middle of the night? Do you have the habit of lying in your bed, not being able to fall back asleep as you feel your back muscles spasming? If that’s so, do not wait for that back pain to go away on its own. Take the things in your hands and apply these five amazing sleep tips that we discussed. Start by investing in some good Bear mattress and maybe even add a few comfortable pillows on your new bed as well. Grab yourself that heating pad and do some light reading as your muscles relax, and you start to fall sound asleep.