Sciatica can be incredibly painful during the day but can be even worse at night, particularly if it stops you sleeping. Without good quality sleep, symptoms can be magnified and depression can start to sneak in. It may be difficult to fall asleep, or you may find yourself jolted awake by a sharp pain in your back, calf or foot.
Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your sleep remains as unaffected as possible whilst you’re suffering from sciatica.
A good bedtime routine
Before you go to bed, have a warm bath. The warm water will relax your tired muscles and release endorphins that should help combat the pain. If you don’t have time, then instead use a hot water bottle and place it on the bottom of your back. This should hopefully loosen some of the muscles around the sciatic nerve.
We don’t recommend exercise before bed because it may keep you awake, but a few gentle stretches won’t hurt. Most stretches can be done in your bed so you won’t even have to get up.
Be sure to take any prescribed pain medication before bed. If your prescription allows you the flexibility try half of your last dose an hour before bed and the other half 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Be sure to get into a healthy bedtime routine, which means no electronics before lights out and maintaining the same bedtime and wake up time every day.
Investing in a good mattress
Your mattress isn’t to blame for your sciatica, but it might not be helping. Consider investing in a specialist orthopaedic bed that will provide much-needed support to your lower back. Trying a few different types of mattress at a reputable bed store to seehow they feel is worth the time and effort.
Use your pillows effectively
It may be time to purchase a body pillow if you sleep on your side. If this isn’t a feasible option, then consider putting a normal pillow between your knees as you sleep. This will help keep your pelvis, hips, and spine in line with each other.
If you sleep on your back rather than on your side, then tuck the pillow under your knees. Elevating your knees can often bring relief for sciatic pain. Keep adding pillows until your knees are sufficiently raised.
Sciatica and sleep don’t mix well. It can require a bit of ‘trial and error’ to sort out what works for you, but hopefully, these tips will be a good starting point. Sleep tight!