Hip pain is no joke. Many people wake up during the night or having trouble falling asleep in the first place because of their hip discomfort. The causes of hip pain are wide and varied, ranging from sub-optimal sleep position to osteoarthritis, pinched nerves, pregnancy, tendinitis, bursitis, or the quality of your mattress. If hip joint pain is keeping you up at night, don’t feel overwhelmed – there’s a lot you can do to cut down on your aches and pains and improve your night’s sleep.
10 Ways to Relieve Hip Pain While Sleeping
- Experiment with sleeping position
- Make use of pillows
- Check your shoes
- Stretch before bed
- Practice good sleep hygiene
- Invest in a supportive mattress
- Try over-the-counter pain relievers
- Steer clear of sleep aids
- Talk to your doctor about long-term solutions
Hip problems – including pain and pressure – can come from a variety of sources that affect the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in the glute areas and spine. The hip pain makes it impossible to get a good night’s sleep. You may be experiencing pain from a lower spine issue – or are suffering from osteoarthritis. Maybe you don’t move much during the night, which can encourage joints to swell. Whatever the source of your hip pain, if it keeps you from getting a good night’s sleep, there are several things you can do to calm down the muscles and nerves and head back to snoozeville.
Experiment with Sleeping Position
Some sleeping positions may be better than others at alleviating hip and leg pain – even shoulder pain. For example, you might try sleeping on your back, which can help keep pressure off your hips. It is often considered the best sleeping position for reducing hip pain. If you’re a side sleeper, try to favor the side that doesn’t bother you. You may have to experiment a bit before you find the sleep position that gives you the most relief – it’s different for everyone.
Sleeping on your stomach may provide some hip pressure relief, but it’s a double-edged sword – stomach sleepers often wake up with neck pain or lower back pain because their spinal alignment is off-kilter during the night.
Make Use of Pillows
Pillows can really come in handy for helping you sleep comfortably. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees and use foam pillows to support your head and shoulders. Stomach sleepers should place a pillow under the pelvis to reduce pressure on the spine. For you side sleepers, try sleeping on the non-achy side with a foam pillow between your knees to keep your hips aligned. You can even find pillows specially made for this purpose.
If you don’t want a special knee pillow, you can roll up a blanket and use it the same way. You can also place a foam pillow or rolled-up blanket behind your back so that you lean into it while sleeping on your side – this gives you a little extra support and pressure relief while you sleep. Another option is to put a wedge-shaped pillow under your hip for a little extra cushioning.
Why is it that exercise seems to be the cure for everything? Even if you hate to get sweaty, low-impact exercise – like swimming, walking or yoga – can provide pain relief, good spinal alignment, and help you get right to sleep. Exercise can help loosen and condition the muscles and tendons in your hip area, which cuts down on pain in the first place. The fatigue your body experiences after a good workout can also help encourage you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Building strength in your hip and glute area is a win-win – if your glute muscles are too weak, the front of your hip may overcompensate to stabilize and support the rest of the joint. And guess what that leads to? That’s right – hip pain.
Be careful about the level, frequency, and intensity of your exercise. Sometimes, exercise that is too strenuous can also lead to hip labral pain – especially activities like running, playing soccer, or dancing.
Check Your Shoes
Sometimes the shoes you wear can lead to hip pain – even when they look great and they’re your favorite. Womp womp. If your hip pain leads to poor sleep, it’s time to take a good look in your closet. Determine which shoes are the most supportive and encourage good spinal alignment – those are the ones you want to keep. This is especially true if you’re on your feet all day. The right kind of supportive shoes can help reduce the risks of a variety of ailments, including sciatica, which often leads to hip pain at night.
Stretch Before Bed
Stretching out your hip muscles and tendons can make a world of difference and help you get a good night’s sleep. Stretch right before you go to bed – and throughout the day if severe hip pain prevents you from relaxing. If you work in a setting where you have to sit for long periods of time, taking periodic stretch breaks during the day can help a lot with pain relief.
Stretching doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, you can stand, holding onto a chair or wall for balance, cross your ankles and bend over to touch your toes. Stretch gently – don’t try to push too far. Hold as long as comfortable, then switch ankles and stretch again. Repeat as many times as you’d like.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Contrary to what it sounds like, sleep hygiene isn’t about taking a shower – though taking a warm bath might help you sleep. Sleep hygiene is all about establishing a consistent routine every night before going to bed. Practicing good sleep hygiene helps your mind and body relax and wind down for the day and can help you fall asleep – and stay that way. Below are some tips for good sleep hygiene:
- Pick a bedtime and stick with it every night.
- Take a warm bath a couple of hours before bed – but make it warm, not hot, or it may raise your body temperature too much to encourage relaxation, comfort, and sleep. A warm bath releases endorphins, which make you feel awesome and relaxed, and also loosens the muscles around the sciatic nerve, which can help your pain.
- Make your room dark, quiet and cool – turn that thermostat down!
- Shut off all your electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Cut yourself off from all caffeine at least five hours before bedtime.
- Avoid using alcohol as a sleep aid – it might help you nod off, but chances are you’ll feel wired and unrested
Use Ice and Heat
Depending on the level of inflammation, you might get comfort using either ice therapy or heat therapy on your aching hips. Heat, especially, may keep muscles and tendons loose and comfortable during the night and encourage pain relief. Talk to your doctor about whether to use ice or heat. Ice will help reduce swelling and inflammation. Heat can help relax the muscles, calming muscle spasms and easing arthritis pain and general stiffness. If you’re using ice, try not to put it directly on your skin – instead, wrap up ice in a dish towel or other piece of cloth. If you’re going for heat therapy, you can use a heating pad or a hot water bottle – even a heat wrap.
Invest in a Supportive Mattress
The type of mattress you sleep on every night makes a huge difference in your overall quality of sleep. It may be time to throw out your old memory foam mattress or poly foam bed and switch to something new. When you’re dealing with chronic pain, having the right mattress firmness becomes especially important. Adding a cheap mattress topper to a worn out innerspring or lump memory foam bed won’t be enough. The best mattress for hip pain provides contouring support and pressure relief where you need it, which can help immensely with hip pain and proper spinal alignment.
The best mattress for hip pain will also be responsive to your unique body shape, size, and weight. It should allow both your hips and shoulders to sink a bit, while also providing firm support under your spine. You might find decent options from a variety of mattress types – memory foam, gel-infused memory foam, latex foam, natural latex, innerspring mattresses – but we think you’ll feel the most comfortable sleeping on a Purple.
Overall, the best mattress for lower back and hip pain is a cushiony, contouring mattress that conforms to your body’s shape with just the right level of firmness. No other mattress company offers the “No Pressure” comfort of the Purple Grid™. This hyper-elastic polymer grid provides complete support for your hips while making you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud. Try the original Purple® Mattress or choose from a variety of Purple hybrid mattresses, which use a pocketed coil system for added support and responsiveness.
When choosing a new mattress, make sure you pick one that offers you a sleep trial so that you can sleep on it for a few nights before having to decide for sure that you’d like to keep it. You can shop Purple with confidence knowing we offer a 100-night sleep trial and free returns.
Try Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers
Many sleepers can find temporary relief from over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and naproxen. They may be a helpful option – but talk to your doctor first about how often it’s safe to take them. You may also want to talk with your doctor about topical medications that may help relieve chronic pain and increase your comfort.
Steer Clear of Sleep Aids
After a few nights with no sleep, you can be sure you’ll be tempted to turn to either over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids – but be careful. This can be a slippery slope. Over time, you’ll need more and more medication to fall and stay asleep as your body builds tolerance. Try everything else you can and only use sleep aids under the supervision of your doctor.
Talk to Your Doctor About Long-Term Solutions
If you’ve already tried these treatments and hip and shoulder pain is still interfering with your sleep, chances are it might be time to talk to your primary care doctor about long-term solutions for your discomfort. Treatments may range from deep-tissue massages, physical therapy, and steroid injections.
Other solutions might include biologics and some arthritis medicines. In worst cases, you may think about surgical options like arthroscopy (removing loose pieces of cartilage or bone spurs), hip resurfacing to remedy damaged bone, or total hip replacement surgery.
Best Mattress for Hip Pain
Sleeping with hip pain can be a challenge, but there are many ways you can improve your night’s sleep, no matter what kind of condition you’re facing. Sometimes, simple changes can put an end to long, painful, sleepless nights. A great place to start is with a high-quality mattress, like a Purple. The No Pressure® Purple Grid™ can go a long way toward increasing your comfort and helping you get the restorative sleep you need. In fact, we think it’s the best mattress for hip and back pain. We’re confident that once you try a Purple mattress, you’ll be enjoying sweet dreams in no time.