In the past decade, sciatica cases have doubled, making it one of the most common and widespread conditions. In addition to numerous difficulties sciatica patients have to deal with daily, almost all of them struggle to find a proper sleeping position and environment that will reduce the pain and pain-related anxiety and stress.
The burning question: how to sleep with sciatica? All is not lost! There are many ways you can prevent this condition from affecting the quality of your sleep. From finding the right mattress to taking a warm bath before bed, we’ve covered top tips for nighttime pain relief.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is pain or discomfort associated with the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the back of the legs to the feet. It can affect any age but most commonly occurs in adults between 20 and 60 and the elderly.
What Causes Sciatica?
Sciatica most frequently occurs in people suffering from spinal degeneration with conditions such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc diseases, herniated disc (with nerve root compression), lumbar stenosis, and possibly tumours. With these conditions, the pathways through which the sciatic nerve travels narrow and the nerve becomes irritated from the compression, causing pain and discomfort.
Sciatica can sometimes be hard to diagnose, as it is often confused with other lower back injuries.
Symptoms of Sciatica
The pain caused by sciatica can range from being mild to being very severe and can occur suddenly or come on gradually.
Sciatic pain is commonly described as cramp-like and can be burning or sharp and is typically felt in the lower back and hip and going down the back of one leg. In addition to pain, sufferers may also feel the below sensations;
- Pins and needles
- Numbness and weakness
Tips for Sleeping with Sciatica
Sleeping with a condition such as sciatica can be challenging. Creating a stress-free bedtime routine and finding the right sleeping materials and positions to ease the discomfort is essential to get that all-important restful and regenerative sleep each night.
How Sciatica Symptoms Can be Relieved
Don’t give up hope! There are a few options you can try to reduce your sciatica pain at night and encourage you to experiment to find the perfect sleeping environment;
Choose the best sleeping position
The best way to sleep with sciatica is to find a sleeping position that works for you and stick with it. By finding the most comfortable spot, you can find relief and increase your sleep quality.
Medical professionals recommend sciatica patients to sleep on their back to reduce pain and discomfort.
When lying on your back, elevate your knees with a few pillows stacked between them and the bed.
Sleeping on your side is the next best position and is favoured by most.
When lying on your side, bend your top knee and pull it towards your head. Prop your knee with two to three pillows or a body pillow, so your hips are squared whilst you sleep.
It is not advisable to sleep on your front and this position is likely to increase the pain levels and damage to the nerve. It can also contribute to a herniated disc and overall damage and injury to the lower back nerves and muscles.
Invest in a Good Neck Pillow
Looking after your neck by sleeping on the correct pillow is essential for back support. Keeping your upper spine straight during the night will not only reduce neck pain but will align the whole spine offering lower back pain relief and reduce the discomfort caused by sciatica.
Enjoy a Warm Bath before you Sleep
A warm bath can reduce sciatica-caused pain significantly. To get a pain-free, restful night’s sleep, make sure to take a warm bath right before bedtime. The warmth of the bath stimulates the release of endorphins and relaxes the muscles in the lower back and legs. It also relaxes you mentally, helping you to fall asleep quickly and easily.
Finding the Best Mattress for Sciatica Sufferers
Many feel their symptoms worsen when they lay down or sleep. This is why it is so important to find a mattress that alleviates the pain. Choosing a memory foam or hybrid mattress with the below qualities is recommended;
- Solid support
- Pressure-point relief
A mattress with above-average pressure relief and support can help minimise aches and pains from sciatica and increases sleep quality.
Memory foam mattresses offer the ideal blend of softness and support and contour well to the unique curves of the body. Proper alignment of the spine is key and helps alleviate pressure on tender spots. To ensure you keep cool throughout the night, we’d recommend choosing from our CoolMax range to achieve the perfect night’s sleep. A CoolMax Memory Foam Mattress is made from innovative 21st Century materials. The breathable fibres that make up the CoolMax fabric disperse moisture to keep your skin cool and dry all night long.
Hybrid mattresses combine a thick comfort layer section with an innerspring support core. Hybrids aim to provide the support, airflow and edge support of an innerspring mattress in addition to the conforming pressure relief and motion isolation of an all-foam model. Hybrids deliver a balance of support and pressure relief that is needed to ease pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Sleeping on the Floor
Controversially, some sciatica sufferers find sleeping on the floor on a yoga mat gives them the most relief! The support of the hard floor can reduce the pressure on the nerve and ease pain and discomfort.
Get affordable pain relief from sciatica with our collection of firm and supportive memory foam mattresses.