April 29, 2022

Sciatic Nerve Pain Relief At Night

Sciatic nerve pain can make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep, especially during flare-ups. Fortunately, several sleeping positions can help you find relief.

Here are sleeping positions that can give you sciatic nerve pain relief at night, along with other tips that can help you feel more comfortable while you sleep.


What Is Sciatic Nerve Pain?

The sciatic nerve begins at your spinal cord, goes down your hips and buttocks, and continues down the back of each of your legs. It is the largest nerve in your body.

Sciatic nerve pain is caused by a herniated disc in the lower back. This condition is known as sciatica. The pain you feel with sciatica can often run the entire length of this nerve. It can range from mild to severe and usually only affects one side of your body.

Sciatic nerve pain can make it difficult for you to sleep at night. This is because many sleeping positions can irritate and put pressure on this nerve to cause pain.


Why Does Sciatic Nerve Pain Get Worse At Night?

Lying down increases the amount of pressure being placed on your sciatic nerve. This pressure can intensify if you have a soft mattress that causes your spine to bend while you sleep.

Other symptoms of sciatica may also prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. These symptoms include pain in the affected leg or numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in that leg.


What Are the Best Sleep Positions For Sciatica?

Finding the best sleeping position for sciatic nerve pain can help you find relief from your symptoms. It can also improve the way you feel daily.

On Your Side

Sleeping on your side can prevent you from putting extra pressure on your spine and sciatic nerve. Try sleeping on the side that isn’t painful. If you’re still uncomfortable, wedge a small pillow between your waist and the mattress. This may help prevent your side from bending.

The side position may also be the best way to sleep with sciatic nerve pain if you are pregnant. Your doctor or OB-GYN can provide you with more guidance on the most comfortable ways to sleep during pregnancy.

With a Pillow Between the Knees

This sciatica sleeping position can keep your pelvis and spine in a neutral position. It may also prevent your legs from twisting or rotating while you sleep. Lie down and slightly bend your knees. Then, wedge a thin pillow between your knees.


In the Fetal Position

This may be the best sleep position for sciatica if most of the pain you feel is in your back. Lie on your side and bring your knees to your chest to form the fetal position. If this position still makes you uncomfortable, try wedging a small pillow between your knees or under your waist.

On Your Back With a Pillow Under the Knees

This position can distribute your weight more evenly across your back. It may also prevent your spine from becoming more curved to cause severe pain. Lie on your back, then place one thick pillow or two small pillows under your knees. Make sure your heels rest comfortably against the mattress.

With a Pillow Under the Lower Back

Lying face up with a pillow under your lower back can help your spine stay in a neutral position while you sleep. A pillow can reduce the amount of space that remains between your back and the mattress. Some people use a towel instead of a pillow if their pillows are too large. If this position doesn’t relieve your sciatica pain, try placing a pillow under your knees as well.

On the Floor

Sleeping on the floor may sound extremely uncomfortable. However, it’s worth trying if you have a soft mattress or if other sciatica sleeping positions don’t work. Soft surfaces like a mattress can cause your spine to bend out of alignment.

Try sleeping on either a yoga mat or a camping mat on the floor. Then, try one or more of the above sciatica sleeping positions until you find one that works best for you.


Other Tips On How To Sleep With Sciatic Nerve Pain

Changing your sleeping position is only one solution for dealing with sciatic nerve pain. Here are other tips on how to relieve sciatica pain in bed:

  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach. This can cause your spine to curve down toward the mattress, which puts extra pressure on muscles and joints. Any pain you feel may be more severe if you have a soft mattress.
  • Sleep on a firmer mattress. A medium to firm mattress can help your spine stay in proper alignment. When shopping for mattresses, consult with the workers at the store to find out which ones are best at reducing sciatic nerve pain.
  • Install plywood under your mattress. This tip may be useful if you don’t want to replace a soft mattress. Place a plywood board between your mattress and the box spring if you have one. This can provide you with extra support in terms of proper spine alignment.
  • Take a warm bath before bedtime. A warm bath may help reduce sciatic nerve pain.
  • Stretch before bedtime. Gentle stretching or yoga can help loosen your muscles and reduce sciatic nerve pain.
  • Try using a body pillow. A long body pillow may prevent you from flipping and moving into other positions while you sleep.
  • Improve your sleep quality. A good night’s sleep may lessen your sciatica pain. Invest in comfortable sheets, lower the temperature in your home, and avoid looking at screens to improve your sleep quality.

When To Seek Medical Attention

See your doctor right away if your sciatic nerve pain won’t go away at night no matter what you try. Your doctor can treat the root cause of your sciatica and improve your symptoms. Your doctor can also give you additional tips on how to sleep with sciatica pain.

Visit our website to request an appointment if you need treatment for sciatica. Our board-certified physicians can diagnose and treat the root cause of chronic pain, including sciatica.


The information featured in this site is general in nature. The site provides health information designed to complement your personal health management. It does not provide medical advice or health services and is not meant to replace professional advice or imply coverage of specific clinical services or products. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites.

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Posted in: Pain Management, Sleep