Self-care: It’s put on the back burner by so many of us. But it shouldn’t…
Counting sheep at night is no fun, and if back pain is contributing to your sleeplessness, you aren’t alone. In fact, according to Georgetown University, nearly 65 million Americans suffer from back pain. When you are suffering from back pain, you may spend more of your time tossing and turning than actually catching those Zs. But there are some simple things you can do to help overcome—and even prevent—back pain to get a good night’s sleep.
Support Your Back During the Day
Good back health shouldn’t just be a concern during the night. It should be happening 24 hours a day. One of the best things you can do to overcome nighttime back pain is to ensure you are giving your back plenty of support during the day. If you work at a desk job, make sure you are sitting in a supportive desk chair and practicing good ergonomics. That means putting your feet flat on the floor, elbows down at your side, and making sure your neck isn’t straining to see the computer screen. If you work in a manual labor position, Doc Ortho suggests wearing a back brace to help reduce the strain on your body.
Start a Nightly Yoga Routine
Yoga is a low-impact exercise that’s great for your back. Doing yoga before bedtime can be a good way to let go of the stress of the day as well as provide gentle stretching for the muscles in your back.
It’s also easier than ever to incorporate yoga into your nighttime routine. There are many apps you can download to your smartphone that will guide you through a routine tailored to your abilities. Check out Daily Yoga or Find What Feels Good. Both are free (with some in-app purchases available), so you can try them both and find the one you like the best.
Going along with this, do what you can to make your home an oasis of positivity, free from self-criticism and negative thoughts. The goal isn’t to be perfect (which is impossible), but to be as healthy, sincere, and non-judgmental as possible.
Try Some Relaxing Music
If yoga and meditation aren’t quite enough to lessen your stress and give you a good night’s sleep, try listening to some peaceful music. You can pick up an affordable pair of headphones, then listen to some instrumental music until you feel the cares of the day finally fall away. There are also plenty of apps that allow you to set a timer so the music will shut itself off once you don’t need it anymore.
Make Sure the Problem Isn’t Your Mattress
If your back is keeping you awake at night, the problem might have more to do with what you are lying on than your back itself. Your mattress plays an important role in back health. Old mattresses may no longer offer the support your back needs. If your mattress sags, then there is a good chance your back is being put under pressure as you sleep. That’s causing you to toss and turn and not allowing you to enter deeper sleep cycles.
If it’s been longer than eight years since you replaced your mattress, Sleep Foundation says it’s time to start shopping. Look for mattresses that are specifically for people with back pain. They’ll give your back the support it needs and enable you to achieve a better night’s rest.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Good rest can help lower your anxiety levels and even combat depression. Restorative sleep can also help you keep your weight down, lower your blood pressure, and even reduce your risk of developing diabetes. So while you might think of back pain as just a pain in your backside, if it’s keeping you up at night, it’s critical to deal with it.
Don’t let back pain prevent you from getting the restorative sleep you need to take on your busy life. Preventative care alongside self-care before bed can help you manage those back pain symptoms so you can get the sleep you need and deserve.