Why is it that in our 20s, we could sleep anywhere—on our parents’ couch, on the floor of a friend of a friend’s apartment after a concert, in a crappy hotel room—but once we hit our 30s, we can’t even sleep in our own bed comfortably? Welp, back pain happens to most people at some point or another as we age, our friends at the Mayo Clinic tell us. Most of the time, it isn’t serious, and will go away within a few weeks (phew). Until then, there are a few quick ways to get relief.
Stop sleeping on your stomach. Sorry, stomach snoozers. When you’re sleeping face-down night after night, it can begin to stress your lower back and neck. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, or on your back with a pillow under your knees. And if you absolutely must sleep on your stomach, try taking the pillow out from under your head and put it under your pelvis instead.
Switch out your mattress and pillow. While there’s no special pillow or mattress that will magically take your pain away, it’s possible that the pillow or mattress (or both) that you’re using is keeping your back out of alignment as you sleep. Channel your inner Princess and the Pea and pay attention to the way your body is aligned with your current setup. Is your neck cranked too far up? Is your mattress too mushy, causing your spine to sag? Switch things up and see if it helps. (Check out our picks for the best pillow for every sleeping position.)
Pay attention to how you sit and stand during the day. If your back only hurts at night, it doesn’t necessarily mean your bed is causing the pain. If you spend a lot of time slouching over a desk, or standing and walking with bad posture, you could be creating unnecessary strain on your back that builds up and gets worse at night, the Mayo Clinic notes. Pay close attention to the way you sit and stand during the day, making sure to change positions regularly and sit in a chair and desk that promotes good posture.