Oh, My Achy Back! Eliminate Pain with These Helpful Sleeping Tips

A good sleeping posture, keeping your spine aligned when you sleep, can help reduce back pain and related sleeping problems many people experience with aging.

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Oh, My Achy Back! Eliminate Pain with These Helpful Sleeping Tips
4 Min Read October 23rd, 2021 Updated:April 8th, 2023

Aggravating back pain while you sleep not only wreck's your night, it makes the rest of the next day difficult. Back pain can make it challenging to get through the day; however, getting a good night's rest is more challenging when you are in pain. 

As we age, our bodies become more sensitive to sleep quality. One factor that can significantly affect sleep quality is the quality of our mattress. Studies have shown that sleeping on a poor-quality mattress can lead to various health problems, especially for adults over 50.

The National Sleep Foundation points how the benefits of a good mattress.

A good mattress will support your body in a neutral position, allowing your spine, hips, and shoulders to rest in alignment.

A mattress that is too firm or too soft can cause discomfort, leading to aches, pains, and poor sleep quality.

Poor sleep quality due to a low-quality mattress can lead to various health problems, including chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine found that sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress can cause lower back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders. Additionally, poor sleep quality has been linked to an increased risk of depression and anxiety in older adults. Research has shown that sleep disturbance can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues.

Back pain is common and is often associated with disability, psychological distress, and work loss. WebMD reports that up to 80% of the population has back pain at some time in their lives, and it's the second most common reason people see their doctor.

Sometimes, the problem is finding the proper, comfortable position so you can enjoy a good night's sleep. However, sometimes you may be in so much pain that it's difficult to get in and out of bed.

While there are plenty of recommendations by Health (and this is a great place to start your search), there are other tips that can help, as well. You can take advantage of these tips to help you get a good night's rest without the pain.

The Right Sleep Position

Some sleeping positions can help ease your back pain, so find the most comfortable one for you. Since this is true, it's a good idea to find a comfortable sleeping position for you. You may want to start by sleeping with a pillow under or between your legs for additional support.

Sleeping on their back is often the best position for some people to relieve or reduce back pain. Side sleeping is the preferred position, however, for most people. If you sleep on your side, place the pillow between your knees and pull them up to your chest. If you are a back sleeper, put the pillow under your knees or roll a small towel up and put it under the small of your back.

Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach since this will put a lot of strain on your back. If this is the only position you can go to sleep in, then make sure to place a pillow under your stomach, which can help reduce the pressure on your back. You can also work to break this habit by wearing a pocket tee and putting a tennis ball in the pocket.

Invest in a Quality Mattress

According to the Sleep Foundation, you need to evaluate your mattress every six to eight years, and it may need to be replaced to provide superior support and comfort. Up to 63% of people have reported a vast improvement in low back pain after switching to a new mattress.

If you have the funds to purchase a new mattress, make sure you "test drive" a few different options before purchasing. Test driving a mattress means going to a store, kicking off your shoes, and laying down in your preferred sleep position. Take a few minutes to "rest" on the mattress and see how you feel. Does it provide support where you need it? If not, it's time to move on to a different option.

Be Careful Getting In and Out of Bed

While this may seem obvious, it is important to be careful when you get in and out of bed. If you bend forward at the waist or if you make quick or jerk-like movements, it will increase your back pain.

Instead, take time to roll over to one side and then use your arms to help your body get into a sitting position. After that, you can swing your legs out of bed and stand up. When it is time to lie down at night and go to bed, you need to use the same movements but do them in reverse.

Engage and Exercise Your Core

Getting physical activity is one of the best ways to improve your overall quality of sleep. However, you may also reduce your back pain when you engage in targeted exercises that will strengthen your core, the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen.

Take time to do these types of exercises daily, and you may notice a significant improvement in your pain.

Aging, Back Pain, and Sleeping

When we start getting older, the discs between the vertebrae wear away and shrink, causing pain and stiffness as the bones begin to rub against each other. People over age 60 are more likely to experience low back pain because of joint degeneration.

No matter your age, lack of sleep leads to growing health problems. When you are older, those health problems become more disabling, leading to increasing health issues and the need for long-term health care.

A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine says that people with chronic pain had a more rapid memory decline and a faster increase in dementia probability than those who don't.

Since some pain is well managed by sleeping in the right position and keeping your body active and mobile, older adults can reduce some of the risks associated with aging.

We can't avoid aging or declining health and deteriorating bodies. We can better manage our overall health and prepare for the consequences that come with getting older.

As you can see, there are more than a few things you can do to reduce your back pain. Be sure to keep this in mind to improve your sleep and enjoy a pain-free night. 

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About the Author

Ashley Lipman is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing knowledge to readers worldwide on topics closest to her heart - all things digital. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver awesome content through various niches touching the digital sphere.

LTC News Contributor Ashley Lipman

Ashley Lipman

Contributor since February 12th, 2021

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