The City Mattress Blog

sleep tips

How to Sleep with Sciatica


Man in snug grey shirt reaches around to sooth back pain caused by Sciatica

Sciatica is a very common type of back pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve. Anytime you’re in pain, sleep can feel nearly impossible to achieve. When you have Sciatica, you’re in a lot of pain! The experience is not just painful, but also uncomfortable. Some people have difficulty standing, walking, and sitting. Beyond these, many Sciatica sufferers have difficulty learning how to sleep until the pain and uneasiness passes. While it may be tough to do, it is not impossible!

How to Sleep with Sciatica

There’s a number of things you can do to make sleeping with Sciatica pain a reality and not a wish. Thankfully, none of them involve a trip back to the doctor or taking any further pain medication. A few simple purchases and changes to your lifestyle habits is all it will take!

Invest in a Good Mattress

Did your mattress cause your Sciatica issues? No. Could it be making it worse? Yes! A very supportive mattress is needed if you’re finding yourself losing sleep due to this kind of pain. A too-plushy or “squishy” mattress can allow you to sink in too deeply and fail to support your spine properly. You’re going to want to look for a mattress that offers a lot of support, like one with a “Firm” comfort feel or one made with strong innersprings inside. As just one example, we recommend the Stearns & Foster Estate Rockwell Luxury Firm. The IntelliCoil support system provides lasting comfort and support along with the Precision Edge support for breathability. The quilt package has Tencel blended into the fibers to keep you cool, plus layers of ultra-soft gel foam. You’ll ease right into sleep! 

Research suggests that using a Medium or Firm mattress may help reduce lower back pain. Of course, we offer many more great mattress options that fit this category beyond the one mentioned here. You may find it beneficial to come into your nearest City Mattress location and lie down on several before choosing the right option.

Develop a Nighttime Routine

Everyone, not just those who suffer from Sciatica, will find it easier to fall asleep if they follow a gentle nightly routine. The best way to sleep with Sciatica pain is to take a nice warm bath.  A warm bath can relax you, release pain-fighting endorphins and relax the muscles around your sciatic nerve roots. Then, do some simple stretches. Many of these stretches can be done on your bed, so you won’t make yourself more alert as you do them. Brew yourself a cup of tea and settle in with a book. Avoid screen time and alcohol. You may think these will help relax you, but they’ll in fact do the opposite. 

Knowing how to sleep with Sciatic nerve pain is the key to giving your body the rest it needs to heal. Beyond a well-made mattress and a soothing nightly routine, you’ll want the right pillow. Use a high-quality body pillow and wrap your legs around it, while laying on your side. This will also align your spine with your hips and pelvis.

Elevate Your Knees

The sciatic nerve extends from the lower back and down the back of each leg. For this reason, you need to pay attention to not just your back but also your legs. For some, placing a pillow between their knees when sleeping with sciatica is just not enough. Sleeping on your back or stomach may increase the risk of lower back pain. If you’re a habitual back sleeper, sleeping with your knees slightly elevated will reduce the pressure on your legs and the damaged nerve. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to get an adjustable bed base and raise the lower portion of your bed slightly.

The Best Sleeping Position for Sciatica Pain

The symptoms don’t abate just because it is time for you to go to bed. Yet, you need sleep in order for your body to heal. Finding a comfortable sleeping position with Sciatica is one of the biggest challenges many Sciatica patients experience. Experts recommend you sleep in a fetal position. When you sleep in this position, you open the space between the vertebrae, providing pressure relief where it is needed the most. Because you’re not sleeping directly on your back, there is no pressure on the muscles, disc, and the sciatic nerve. If you’re not used to sleeping in this position, know that your new body pillow will make it much easier. If you find yourself rolling over, place another, firm pillow behind your back so you can’t roll back over.

Sciatic pain can make it almost impossible to find a comfortable position and fall asleep. City Mattress is here to help! We carry many items to help you sleep with lower back pain and Sciatica, including high-quality mattresses of course, but also adjustable bed bases and full-body pillows. Finding the right sleep situation may involve a bit of trial and error. We offer a 90 Night Comfort Guarantee if your new mattress doesn’t feel as good as you had hoped once it is delivered. When you find the right mattress, pillow, and routine, you’ll finally have a great night of sleep. It will be so worth it!