Are your sleep habits causing you back pain?

Whether it’s the amount of sleep you get, the quality of that sleep or the position you lie in at night, your sleep habits can affect the way your body feels. This, in turn, may contribute to back pain.

Take this quiz to see if your sleep habits could be causing you back pain.

Which position do you normally sleep in?

Sleeping on your back keeps your head, neck and spine in their natural position, which is great for preventing neck and back pain. It also reduces pressure on your joints and helps keep your internal organs lined up properly.

If this is the only way you can sleep, place a soft pillow slightly below your forehead to reduce some of the pressure. Try to use a pillow that keeps your neck and head at a comfortable angle.

It’s best not to sleep on your tummy. Doing so places your neck in an uncomfortable position, which puts pressure on your muscles and joints, strains your spine and can lead to neck, shoulder and back pain.

If this is the only way you can sleep, you can reduce some pressure by placing a soft pillow slightly below your forehead. Try to use a pillow that keeps your neck and head at a comfortable angle.

Sleeping on your side with your back and legs straight keeps your spine in its natural position. This can help prevent back pain.

But it's a position that can also put pressure on whichever hip you lie on. You can relieve some of this pressure by placing a pillow or folded blanket between your knees.

Regularly sleeping on the same side may worsen muscle imbalance — where muscles on one side of your body are more developed than others — and cause pain. Try Switching sides every now and then might also make this position more comfortable.

Sleeping in the foetal position may help prevent back pain as it keeps your spine in its natural position. However, curling up too tightly for the whole night can restrict your breathing and make you feel sore. If you have aches and pains when you wake up, try straightening out your body the next time you go to sleep.


Do you sleep with a pillow under your head and neck?

Whichever way you sleep, placing a pillow under your head and neck, but not your shoulders, can help keep your body in its natural position.


Do you get between 7 and 9 hours’ sleep most nights?

Most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night to function properly. Sleeping less than this can make you feel tired, which has been linked to back pain.

Studies also suggest that not getting enough sleep can make you more sensitive to pain


Are you getting quality, uninterrupted sleep?

Your body goes through many stages of sleep during the night, including one known as REM (rapid eye movement).

In order for your body to restore and repair itself, it needs time in the REM and non-REM stages of sleep, which is possible with a night of good quality, undisturbed sleep.


Are you looking at screens in the hours before you sleep?

Phones, tablets and laptops give out a type of blue light that can prevent your body from releasing a sleep-boosting hormone called melatonin. This means that looking at these screens in the evening can make it harder to fall and stay asleep, leaving you feeling tired the next day.


Are you relaxing before you sleep?

Taking the time to relax can not only ease back pain, but make it easier to fall asleep as well. Try practising mindfulness, taking a bath or listening to some quiet music before you go to bed at night.


Your Final Score

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