All 26 of the bones in your spine are cushioned by jelly-like discs, which help absorb the shock as you move, twist, and lift. Each disc contains a soft inner part and a firmer outer shell. When in place, these discs keep you moving and sleeping easily, but when you have a herniated disk, sleep and movement don’t come so easily.
How to Sleep with a Herniated Disk
To sleep with a herniated disc, you may need to modify your sleeping position.
If you are a side sleeper, placing a pillow between your knees will help keep your hips, your pelvis and your spine naturally aligned, or you can use a full-body pillow to help keep your spine in alignment.
If you are a stomach sleeper, putting a thin pillow under your abdomen will relieve stress and keep your spine in its natural alignment. Sleeping on your stomach can cause your hips to sink while elevating the chest, creating an unhealthy arch in the spine, making it the worst sleeping position for a herniated disc. If you cannot sleep in any other position, make sure that your mattress is firm and supportive enough to keep your hips and shoulders from sinking too far into your mattress so your spine can stay properly aligned.
If you are a back sleeper, putting a pillow under your knees or a wedge pillow behind your neck will relieve unnecessary pressure on your spine and keep it naturally aligned. Sleeping on your back is considered to be the healthiest sleeping position if you have a herniated disc, as it is the easiest position for you to maintain proper spinal alignment.
If you have a herniated disc in your neck, you may want to buy a new pillow or two to ensure your neck is properly supported.
Another great investment if you suffer from back pain – especially due to a herniated or bulging disc – would be to purchase an adjustable base.
Sleeping in a reclining position will help alleviate pressure in your back and hips. This is the best way to sleep if you have a bulging disc in your lower back.
Can You Get a Herniated Disc From Sleeping Wrong?
No, your mattress will not cause you to slip a disc, but it can exacerbate the problem if you are already suffering from one.
If your mattress is not supporting your sleeping position correctly, your mattress is cheaply made, or your mattress is structurally old, it will definitely not help you sleep pain-free and comfortably.
Investing in the right mattress for your sleeping position, lifestyle and health concerns is a top priority for herniated disc sufferers.
The materials, construction, and features of your mattress should work together to keep your spine aligned, relieve pressure, and allow you to get better quality sleep.
Best Mattress For Herniated Disc and Sciatica
The best mattress for herniated disc sufferers and other ailments like sciatica, arthritis and fibromyalgia is one that delivers instant pressure relief by evenly distributing your weight. This avoids tension and provides the correct balance of comfort and support for your preferred sleeping position. Less tension means less pain as well as promoting a healthier sleeping posture.
For stomach and back sleepers, a medium to firm mattress will not only support your body and keep your spine in proper alignment but will also provide pressure point relief where it is most needed.
For side sleepers, a plush to medium mattress will provide the correct balance of comfort and support by cradling your body in all the right areas.
When you have a herniated disc, your spine is more sensitive to motion, so it is important to have a mattress that isolates motion as your partner moves throughout the night so you are not disrupted as you sleep.
Ready to improve your sleep with a Mattress Express mattress?
LocationsFind your store
Recommended Mattresses for Back Pain at Mattress Express
If you are looking for a new mattress due to back pain issues, check out our Eclipse line. Eclipse is recommended by the Congress of Chiropractic State Association due to its patented Spinal Zone technology designed to provide optimal lumbar support.
The Purple Mattress line features the Purple grid made from a hyper-elastic polymer designed to flex directly under your pressure points while still giving your body the support it needs. The Purple grid is soft and breathable and just firm enough in pinpoint areas to relieve any aches and pains, especially in your back and joints.
Our Posh and Lavish collection is great for all types of sleepers, but especially those who suffer from lower back or joint pain, have allergies, want to limit their carbon footprint, and have the budget to invest in a mattress with longevity.
The TEMPUR-ProAdapt memory foam mattress provides innovative comfort and support using layers to create a comfortable sleep surface. This gently cushions, conforms to your body, and reduces pressure. The TEMPUR-ES comfort layer offers an excellent support layer of TEMPUR-APR that provides incredible pressure relief and proper body alignment, perfect for slipped disc sufferers. Its TEMPUR Cool-to-Touch SmartClimate system promotes a refreshing sleep temperature throughout the night.
Soft or Firm Mattress for Herniated Disc
As a side sleeper, your hips and shoulders need a softer surface to relieve pressure on your pressure points like your hips and shoulders, while the lower back and lumbar area need firmer support to keep your spine in alignment.
As a stomach or back sleeper, your main focus should be on finding a supportive, medium to firm mattress so your spine stays properly aligned and your hips and shoulders do not sink too far into your mattress.
If your mattress is too firm, it will not contour to your body’s curves and can misalign the spine and aggravate your back more. If your mattress is too soft, it will cause your body to sink too deeply and misalign your spine, aggravating your back pain more.
Worst Sleeping Position for Back Pain
Sleeping on the stomach is not recommended when experiencing back pain, especially a slipped disc or sciatica. It is the hardest position to keep your spine in alignment and can irritate even a healthy spine.
A herniated disc, also referred to as a bulged, slipped, or ruptured disc, occurs when all or part of a disc is forced through a weakened part of the spine. This often places pressure on nearby nerves or the spinal cord, leading to pain and/or numbness.
A herniated disc can affect the upper, middle, or lower back and is most common among people between the ages of 30 and 50 years old, and it is twice as common in males than females. It often occurs from lifting a heavy object, having a physical job or could be hereditary.
Regardless of how it occurred, a herniated disc makes it hard to get a quality night of sleep, and with the wrong mattress, it could make quality sleep next to impossible.
Herniated Disc Symptoms
Some herniated discs cause no symptoms, but others can irritate nearby nerves and result in pain, numbness, or weakness on one side of your body. Signs and symptoms depend on where the herniated disc is located and whether it is pressing on a nerve.
Herniated discs in the lower back are the most common, but they can occur anywhere along your spine as far up as your neck. If your herniated disc is in your lower back, you may feel a sharp, burning pain or a tingling numbness in your buttocks, thighs, calves or even your feet. If the herniated disk in your neck, you may experience this same pain in your shoulders, arms or even your hands.
Another effect of a herniated disc is weakened muscles near the ruptured area, making it hard to pick things up, move without pain or bend over easily. Surgery is normally not needed for a herniated disc as it often improves on its own if given the appropriate time to recover and heal.
What Does a Herniated Disc Feel Like?
A herniated disc often comes with shooting pain when moving your neck, your back or any of your extremities; deep pain near your shoulder blade, upper arms, forearms, fingers, buttocks, hips, legs or yur feet; and numbness or tingling along your shoulders, elbows, forearms, fingers, lower back, buttocks, hips, legs or feet. All are possible symptoms of a herniated disc.
The pain of a herniated disc often intensifies after standing or sitting for a long period of time. It may also flare up when you sneeze, cough, laugh, bend backward or walk more than a few yards at a time.
Stop by any of our Mattress Express locations and a sleep specialist will help you decide which mattress and accessories best suit your needs.