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We spend a third of our lives sleeping. The process is supposed to help rejuvenate us, so we have that “I can take on the world!” attitude when you wake up in the mornings. For many of those who wake up with morning back pain, it’s less about taking on the world and more about taking something to help with the pain.
There are several issues that come into play when you wake up with back pain. Here are some ideas and tips to help you get back to taking on the world.
4 Ways To Prevent Morning Back Pain
1. Your sleeping position could be killing your back
For the purposes of ideal sleep, your spine should be aligned. Depending on how you sleep – on your back, side, or stomach – your spine might not be getting the alignment you need. If this is what’s causing the pain, there’s a simple fix – sleep with another pillow. You won’t be sleeping with it under your head, though.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you’re a side sleeper, it’s best to draw your knees slightly toward your chest and put a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, place the pillow under your knees. And if you sleep on your stomach, which can be hard on your back, place the pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.
2. Start using that gym membership
While working out does help you sleep better, working on strengthening your core can help with back pain at night. Make sure you work on your abs and your back during your workout.
Over time, the stronger muscles should keep the back pain away. Of course, don’t be surprised if you’re sore for the first week or so while you’re working out. If you’re not used to it, that’s normal.
3. Try stretching out in the morning
While you sleep, your muscles are paralyzed, which can cause morning tension (especially if you tend to sleep in a less-than-ideal position). Try some of these quick stretches after waking in the morning to reduce pain:
- Knees-To-Chest. Lie on your back with both legs extended straight. Bring one knee up to your chest, pressing the small of your back into the floor. Hold for five seconds, then switch legs. Repeat the circuit five times.
- Bridge. Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and arms at your sides. Gently lift your hips toward the ceiling until your torso forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees, using your core to hold the position. Hold for five seconds, then lower your hips back to the ground. Repeat five times.
- Child’s Pose. Yoga can be a very beneficial workout for those who experience back pain. Start on your hands and knees, keeping your shoulders and hips aligned. Push your hips back toward the ground and flatten your back. The deeper into a seated position you can get, the more effective the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds or more.
- Supine Spinal Twist. Lie on your back with your legs extended, arms out in a T shape. Draw your right knee so that your right leg forms a 90 degree angle and then rotate your hips, crossing the knee over to the left side of your body. Try to get your knee as close to the floor as possible. Hold for 10 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat with the left leg.
- Happy Baby. Lie on your back with knees bent in toward the chest. Grab the inside edges of your feet and let your knees fall to either side. Make sure your feet are flexed and your heels remain above your knees. Hold for 10 seconds, gently rocking from side to side.
- Standing Forward Fold. Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab opposite elbows and bend toward the ground, maintaining a slight bend in the knee. Let your head hang, neck relaxed and shoulders relaxed. Gently sway from side to side. Hold for 10 seconds, then slowly return to an upright standing position.
It’s a good idea to incorporate stretching into your nighttime routine as well to ensure your back muscles are relaxed and ready for sleep.
4. Have you thought about the mattress?
It should seem obvious, right? You sleep on it every night, you have back pain when you wake up, put two and two together and there’s the problem.
Our bodies change as we get older and, because of that, we need different types of support from our mattresses. A super soft mattress that feels like you’re sleeping on a cloud might have been great in your 20s or 30s, but in your 40s or 50s, that super soft mattress is probably doing a number on your back due to lack of support.
If your back is hurting after doing the pillow technique and/or hitting the gym, it might be time to buy a new mattress and pillow that will give you a better, firmer support. It might not be the happy little cloud you’re used to sleeping on, but your back will thank you for it … mainly by not hurting.
Visit your local Mattress Warehouse store to try bedMATCH®, our patented diagnostic sleep system that uses science to figure out which mattress is best for you. Try it today and sleep better tomorrow!