Unfortunately for the 61% of Americans suffering from lower back pain, the low back ache is a 24/7 type of pain. It doesn’t let go and it’s certainly not “kind” enough to give you a break when you try to fall asleep at night.

There’s no way to fall asleep (and stay asleep) with lower back pain. It hurts to lie down, it may hurt to cough or sneeze, it hurts to turn over and it hurts even if you play dead and don’t move at all.

The Vicious Partnership Between Lower Back Pain and Sleeping

Back pain doesn’t allow a restful sleep. And when you don’t get a good night’s rest, your back pain gets worse (and studies have shown that you become more sensitive to pain too!). This forms a vicious cycle of lower back pain and insomnia which can easily ruin your life.

How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain (Medication, of course, is not included)

First, you should know that the most important thing to do is to find out the root cause of your lower back pain. Diagnosing your back pain is critical if you want to find a long lasting solution for your back pain. See a good doctor or a good chiropractor – If only to diagnose the problem accurately.

5 Effective Ways to Fall Asleep With Lower Back Pain

1. Best Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain


Worst sleeping position for lower back pain

Your main cause of back pain while sleeping could be your sleep position itself.

Most people sleep in their side, which is fine. However, this sleeping position leaves your upper leg unsupported, which causes your lower spine to rotate. Place a pillow between your knees and thighs to prevent hip or back pain.

If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to maintain the normal curve of your lower back. Use a thinner pillow to support your neck without pushing it too far forward.

Sleeping on your stomach is definitely not recommended, but if you can’t sleep in any other position, place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.

2. Best Mattress for Low Back Pain

3 Inch Memory foam top

3 Inch Memory foam top

Sleeping on a sagging mattress is a big contributor to back pain. In a Journal of Applied Ergonomics study, nearly 63% reported significant improvements in low back pain after switching to a new sleep system.

Most people seem to sleep best on a medium-firm mattress, but you should choose a mattress that’s most comfortable for you.

If buying a new bed is not an option right now, you have 2 other effective options: The first one is adding plywood supports between the mattress and its base. The second one is a 3 inch memory foam top, which is quite cheap yet may work like a charm.

3. Natural Pain Relief Cream

100% Natural Pain Relief Cream

100% Natural Pain Relief Cream

Applying a 100% natural pain relief cream is a good way to help you fall asleep without low back pain, while at the same time speeding up the healing process in the painful area. 

4. Far Infrared Heating Pad


Far Infrared Heating Pad

This is one of the greatest, yet not so known, inventions of all time. Unlike the regular electrical heating pad (I would advice you to stay away from them), which only heat the surface of your skin, infrared heating pads are completely safe – There’s no danger of burns or drying skin.

Far infrared rays, which are completely invisible to the naked eye, are capable of penetrating deep into the your body (literally right down to your bones) where they gently elevate the body’s surface temperature, boost circulation and help speed up healing of injured muscles, ligaments and nerves.

The infrared heating pad provides very soothing warmth, which is hard to describe. It is deep warmth, with no perceivable source, making the warmth experience almost surreal. It dramatically reduces my back pain, it’s extremely relaxing and it helps you fall asleep, sleep restfully and restore your energy.

5. Self Massaging Before Bed


Trigger point foam roller

A great way to relax your muscles and relieve lower back pain before you go to bed is self massage. I have a trigger point foam roller that’s really helpful, especially for trigger points and muscle-knots-related back pain.

Try using a foam roller before bed; you may be surprised that this little aid is all you need to fall asleep pain-free.

How to Fall Asleep With Back Pain – Bedtime Habits

Here a few more important things you should do to make falling asleep easier:

  1. A hot shower – Heat relaxes muscles and improves blood circulation, thus relieving pain.
  2. Stop working at least 2 hours before you go to bed.
  3. Do not drink alcohol or caffeine 2 hours before bedtime.
  4. Avoid sugar and heavy meals at least 2 hours before sleeping.
  5. Your bedroom should be completely dark and a bit cool.
  6. Don’t stay in bed too long, it may increase muscle stiffness and back pain in the morning. When you wake up, roll on your side to get out of bed.

Most importantly, take time to find out what is actually causing your pain and correct the real problem. 

That’s it about how to fall asleep with back pain folks. Chances are that with persistence and proper treatment, you can get long lasting relief from the pain in your lower back, develop normal sleep patterns, and enjoy quality sleep (and life) again.