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Causes of Lower Back Pain in the Morning & How to Prevent It

Posted By: Layla

Lower back pain is a tricky and serious issue to deal with. Side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers alike experience different forms of pain no matter their preferred sleeping position. A few factors other than the way you sleep, like your memory foam mattress or pillow, can really affect how you feel in the morning.

Causes of Lower Back Pain in the Morning & How to Prevent It

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80% of adults have pain in the lower back during their lifetime. Lower back pain typically first appears between the ages of 30-50, increasing in subsequent years. Morning back pain is often a manifestation of this trend and can result in uncomfortable movements and pain in other areas such as the joints, hips, and neck, and joint pain.

The causes of this phenomenon are numerous but not often well-explained. Less research has been conducted in this field as opposed to other conditions, but a new direction in the study of lower back pain guides current study and prevention. Five possible reasons you may be experiencing morning back pain include mattress choice (a new memory foam mattress might be in your future), pillow choice, sleeping position, inflammation, and weak or tight muscles. So can a memory foam mattress help with lower back pain? Let’s find out.

Why Does My Lower Back Hurt in the Morning?

If you wake up with lower back pain after sleeping, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, there could be many different causes. However, learning the common reasons why you’re waking up with lower back pain or your back hurts after sleeping can help you prevent it in the future while ensuring a good night’s rest all night long. So, if you’re wondering, “Why does my lower back hurt when I wake up?” check out these common reasons.

Mattress Choice

There are many different types of mattresses, and your mattress choice is a critical factor in improving your sleep and lessening back pain. The rule of thumb is to replace your mattress every 10 years because by then, it will have become so worn that it may cause unnecessary back strain.

Avoid mattresses that are too soft or too firm. You need a mattress that keeps your spine aligned but allows the “hard points” such as your hips and shoulders to sink into the material. Memory foam mattresses contour to your body to give you a custom fit for your personal frame and ensure you get the support you need. The Layla flippable memory foam mattress comes in two levels of firmness to give you the best fit you could ask for. Add a memory foam mattress topper for two more levels of firmness, and watch your back and joint pain become a distant memory. Your pressure points will thank you in the morning.

A memory foam mattress is a go-to choice for most people, and our copper-infused mattress is definitely in the running for the title of the best memory foam mattress. Our copper cells not only tackle the issue of heat retention head-on (a common concern when thinking about a memory foam model) but also interact in a way that creates a mixture of firmness and softness called Variable Support. With this Variable Support, your whole body will rest in luxury and sustained support, giving you a better night’s sleep.

Want to learn more about our mattresses? Check out our memory foam mattress guide.

Pillow Choice

In addition to memory foam mattress choice, you may want to consider what pillow will best support your head during the night. Frilly, feathery pillows don’t provide sufficient head support to prevent pain and stiffness. Contouring cervical pillows are crafted to support your head and back for a superior night’s rest.

But there is another option when looking for your best pillow: memory foam. Like our memory foam mattresses, our pillow covers are made with copper-infused memory foam, and our pillows themselves are engineered with our natural Kapok fibers that will keep you cool and comfortable. They act as an extra defense in the war again back pain. For better sleeping posture, place the pillow between your legs or beneath or knees to help align the spine.

Sleeping Position

Besides memory foam mattresses and Layla Sleep pillows, keep in mind your sleeping position. While sleeping on your back and being a side sleeper is perfectly acceptable, sleeping face down has proven to be worse for the back and the neck. You may find this position to be helpful in reducing snoring, but experts suggest the benefits are not worth the added stress, which can lead to joint pain. When possible, adjust your position on your memory foam mattress by facing upwards to increase support for your lower back and neck.

Of course, there is no single best position to sleep because it’s a matter of preference. However, you can experiment with different sleeping positions to find one that’s comfortable and reduces pain. If you find it difficult to sleep on your back or find you snore more that way, try sleeping on your side. Serving as a middle-ground between the two extremes, being a side sleeper will help you snore less and prevent much of the back trouble associated with sleeping on your stomach.


All of the above reasons for waking up with lower back pain are minor in nature.

Inflammation can prove a more serious culprit when you’re experiencing back pain in bed. Usually arising from an injury, inflammation is a swelling in a particular part of the body, resulting in joint pain and stiffness. If you’re experiencing chronic inflammation, consult your doctor to discover if there’s an underlying condition, such as fibromyalgia, that may be the cause of your back pain.

Weak/Tight Muscles

Weak and tight muscles can cause back pain while you sleep, resulting in lower back pain when you wake up. For example, weak muscles in the abs and back can cause lower back pain because they can affect your posture while you’re awake and asleep. Meanwhile, tight muscles, such as those that have been overused, can cause back pain while you sleep because they tense up. Additionally, if you overuse your muscles, you might wake up with aches and pains the following morning since they’re still trying to heal.

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain in the Morning

Getting rid of back pain can improve your sleep quality and help you wake up feeling well-rested. While some forms of back pain can’t always be prevented because they’re caused by underlying health conditions, there are a few things you can do to reduce your pain, including:

Choose the Right Mattress for You

Choosing the right mattress can help prevent back pain, regardless of your preferred sleep position. But, of course, even if your mattress isn’t old, you should still look into a new mattress if you believe your current one is the culprit of your back pain. Unfortunately, not all mattresses are created equal, so if you have a low budget when shopping for your mattress, it might not last as long as you want it to.

Many firmness options are available to help you choose the right mattress for back pain depending on your preferred sleeping position. For example, stomach sleepers may prefer a medium to firm mattress to keep the spine in neutral alignment and prevent the hips from sagging into the bed. Meanwhile, side sleepers need medium firmness levels that contour the body to help keep it in natural alignment. If you’re unsure which mattress type and firmness level is right for you, try the Layla Hybrid Mattress, which offers flippable firmness with a soft side for side sleepers and a firm side for more support.

Strengthen & Stretch Your Muscles

Strengthening and stretching the muscles can help prevent back pain because it will keep your muscles strong and loose. You can do stretches at night and in the morning to relieve your lower back pain. To strengthen your abdominal muscles to better support your back and prevent bad posture throughout the day, consider planks or doing yoga, which can stretch and strengthen the muscles simultaneously.

Try a New Sleeping Position

Sleeping in a new position can reduce the stress on your muscles and joints to help prevent lower back pain in the morning. If you’re a side sleeper, consider experimenting with different sleep positions to determine which one works best for you to reduce pain. Of course, you can also modify your sleeping position since sleeping in a completely new position can be difficult.

Strategically placing pillows around your body will allow you to sleep in your preferred position.
For example, back sleepers can align their spine by placing a pillow under their knees. Meanwhile, side sleepers can place a pillow between their legs, and stomach sleepers can position a pillow underneath their hips to improve spine and hip alignment.

Exercise During the Day

Daily exercise can help prevent aches and pains because it increases blood flow and helps your body heal. It also reduces inflammation and can promote a better night’s sleep. Staying active throughout the day can also support better posture by building muscle, but luckily, you don’t have to exercise a lot or even every day to get the benefits. Instead, consider spending at least 30 minutes a day getting some form of exercise, whether it’s weight training at the gym or going for a walk on your lunch break.

Sleep Pain-Free with Layla Sleep

In any case, always be aware of your body’s needs. Small changes such as exercising more, adjusting your posture, or simply swapping to a memory foam mattress can provide the added comfort your body requires to feel strong and supported. That way, you’ll be waking up in the morning pain-free.

Sometimes, switching to a memory foam mattress could be the difference between your best days and your worst. Start your day feeling refreshed and pain-free by making slight adjustments to your bedtime routine or memory foam mattress.

Check out Layla Sleep if you want to start making positive changes in your life! After all, the best days follow the best night’s sleep.