Sleeping with scoliosis

Getting a good night's sleep can be a challenge when you suffer from scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine). Some scoliosis patients are kept awake at night by the pain and discomfort that stems from their condition, while others simply struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position. Whatever the reason, scoliosis can often make it very difficult to nod off!

With that in mind, we at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic would like to share a few tips that we hope will help sleep-deprived scoliosis sufferers to rest a little more peacefully tonight:

1. Get the right mattress.

It's important (even if you don't suffer from scoliosis) to find a mattress that provides adequate support for your body while still providing a good level of comfort. You should ideally invest in a medium-to-firm mattress that doesn't give too much when you lie down on it; if you use a mattress topper for extra comfort, try not to go any thicker than 2 or 3 inches as this will negate the support you're getting from the mattress itself.

2. Don't use too many pillows.

Resting your head on a large stack of pillows might sound inviting, but elevating your head too far off the mattress can put a lot of strain on your neck and upper spine. For this reason, it's better to stick with a single pillow that's not too thick.

That being said, those extra pillows can still come in handy: try using them for extra support in spots where your scoliosis is particularly painful / uncomfortable.

3. Find the right sleeping position.

It's well worth taking the time to work out which sleeping position suits you best. Most people sleep on their side, although you may find that sleeping on your back is more comfortable as this spreads your body weight evenly across a larger surface. Sleeping on your front may not be such a good idea as this position forces your back and neck into a slightly unnatural position.

4. Take painkillers if needed (but speak to your doctor first).

While we don't recommend becoming dependent on pain medication if you can possibly avoid it, you may find that certain low-level painkillers help you to nod off a little more easily at night. Visit your GP to discuss the best course of pain relief for your condition, especially if the pain is so severe that it is consistently keeping you awake at night.

5. Practice good sleep hygiene.

There are lots of bad habits that can make it harder to fall asleep (in addition to reducing the quality of what sleep you do get). These habits may well be exacerbating the difficulties your scoliosis is causing you, so here are a few rules that you should try to follow:

  • Stop looking at screens (your TV, your smartphone, etc.) at least 30 minutes before going to bed.
  • Don't drink caffeine or eat foods that trigger indigestion too close to bedtime.
  • Get lots of exercise during the day.
  • Try to go to bed at approximately the same time every night.

Here at the Scoliosis SOS Clinic, we aim to address every aspect of your condition via our unique ScolioGold treatment programme. Contact us today to arrange a consultation.