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Best Sleep Positions for Sciatic Pain

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Update: June 17, 2023
5 min read

Written by

Rahul Upadhyay
Content Writer
Sleeping Positions For Sciatica

Sciatica is a painful condition that occurs in the sciatic nerve, which travels through the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. It usually happens after a herniated disk or an overgrown bone. Sciatica causes inflammation, pain, and numbness in the affected leg. People with sciatica find it hard to lie down as it causes pain. Today, we are here to tell you about the best sleeping positions for sciatica so you can enjoy a deep and restful slumber. Read ahead to know all about it!

What Causes Sciatic Pain?

Sciatic pain occurs due to different medical conditions, which include;

  • Herniated or Slip Disk
  • Degenerative disk disease 
  • Spinal Stenosis 
  • Spondylolisthesis 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Trauma injury 
  • Tumours in the lumbar spine 
  • Piriformis syndrome 
  • Cauda equina syndrome 

Best Sleep Positions for Sciatica

According to studies, almost 55% of people who suffer from chronic back pain suffer from sleep disruptions. Therefore, if you are sleeping with sciatica, you must find the best sleep position. So, take a look at the best way to sleep with sciatica. 

On your side

Women Sleeping On Side

Sleeping on your side can be beneficial if you are suffering from sciatica, as it helps remove any pressure from the sciatic nerve. For sciatic nerve pain relief at night,

  • First, lie on your bed and ensure the injured side is on top. 
  • Fill any gaps between the waist and mattress with a rolled-up towel or a small pillow for extra comfort.

Place a pillow between your knees

Women Sleep Pillow Between Knees

Placing a pillow between your knees helps maintain a neutral position and keeps the spine and pelvis aligned. It also prevents your legs from turning when you are asleep at night. 

  • Lie down comfortably on the mattress. 
  • Bend your knees a little and place the pillow between them.
  • If there is a gap between your waist and the mattress, you can use a rolled-up towel or a thin pillow. This is how to relieve sciatica pain in bed.

Fetal position

Fetal Position

Sleeping in the fetal position can help you combat the pain in the lower back caused by a herniated disk as it opens up the space between vertebrae. However, it might not be suitable for all. 

  • First, lie down on your side and bring your knees up towards the chest. 
  • You can also use a pillow between your knees or under the waist.

On your back with a pillow under your knees

On Your Back With A Pillow Under Your Knees

If you are someone who enjoys sleeping on their back, you can try this sleep position. It helps with sciatic nerve pain relief at night as it evenly distributes your weight and relaxes the curvature of your spine. 

  • Lie down on your back as usual and use a pillow to support your head.
  • You can use one or two pillows under your knees and ensure you place your heels comfortably on the mattress. 

With a towel or pillow under your lower back

With A Towel Or Pillow Under Your Lower Back

How to sleep with sciatica? You can lay on your back and place a towel or a pillow under your lower back to keep the spine in a neutral position.

  • For this position to relieve sciatic nerve pain, make sure you lie down on your back and use a pillow to support your head. 
  • Now, place a thin pillow or a rolled-up towel under your waist.

Sleep on the floor

Sleeping On The Floor

One of the sleep positions on how should I lay with sciatica is to sleep on the floor as it helps you regain spinal alignment. 

  • If you sleep on the floor, use a thin rug or a yoga mat to keep you comfortable. 
  • You can opt for any of the above sleep positions on how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica.

Worst Sleep Position for Sciatica

You must avoid sleeping on your stomach when suffering from sciatica or any other type of lower back pain. It is because your spine may curve towards the mattress, causing pressure on your muscles or joints. 

Best Sleeping Position for Sciatica in Pregnancy

Side sleeping can be beneficial for sciatica in pregnancy as it leads to proper blood flow. And you can choose either left or right side, as both are safe for you and the baby. However, ensure to sleep on the uninjured side as otherwise, it can aggravate the pain.

Additional Tips For Sleeping With Sciatica

Some other tips you can try to sleep easily with sciatica are;

  • Invest in a quality mattress: A quality mattress can help you sleep well and offer the necessary comfort. Here, make sure you opt for a medium to firm mattress. According to a study, medium-firm mattresses help maintain spinal alignment and offer quality sleep. 
  • Change your neck pillow: Having a supportive neck pillow can help prevent neck pain and lower back pain. 
  • Use a body pillow: A body pillow can help you stay in your place and avoid rolling over. 
  • Do stretching exercises before bed: Some mild exercises and stretching can help you out. However, consult with your doctor before starting.
  • Take medications: You can speak with your doctor about pain medications to combat your condition.
  • Develop a nightly routine: Maintaining good sleep hygiene can be beneficial, including a few habits you can follow every night. It includes avoiding stimulants, screen time, etc.

When to see a doctor

Even after trying all the tips and sleep positions, it is time to see a doctor if you cannot combat your condition. You must immediately consult your healthcare if;

  • If your sciatica lasts longer than three months 
  • The pain is too severe 
  • The pain prevents you from doing your routine work
  • If the pain keeps going away and coming back

People with sciatic pain find it difficult to lie down and sleep comfortably. But sleeping on your side or back can be helpful. Follow the above-mentioned tips and see what works for you.


What is the fastest way to cure sciatica?

You can always consult your doctor for the right treatment plan to cure sciatica. Medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, home remedies, and surgery are available for sciatica. 

Why does sciatica pain get worse at night?

It worsens at night because of the amount of pressure on the sciatic nerve increases.

Does drinking water help sciatica?

Dehydration can increase back pain. Therefore, it is essential to consume lots of water. 

What should you not do with sciatica?

Some of the things you must avoid include;

  • Rigorous exercises 
  • Lifting heavy weight 
  • Sitting for longer than 20 minutes 
  • Too much bed rest 
  • Twisting your spine 

What relaxes the sciatic nerve?

Alternating between heat and ice therapy can benefit you and relax the sciatic nerve.

What triggers sciatica?

The condition is triggered when pressure is exerted on the sciatic nerve. 

Is it good to sleep in supine position?

Sleeping in the supine position (on your back) has benefits and considerations. It promotes spinal alignment and even weight distribution, reducing discomfort. However, it may worsen snoring, sleep apnea, and acid reflux symptoms for some individuals. Pregnant women should avoid supine sleeping due to potential blood vessel compression. The suitability of this position depends on individual factors and health conditions


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Written by

Rahul Upadhyay
Content Writer
10 years of experience as a content writer Previously worked as a copywriter for a health journal Ability to write in a variety of formats, including articles, white papers, and clinical trial summaries

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