How to Relieve Hip Pain from Sleeping on Your Side

Published on: October 15, 2023 (Last modified on: March 29, 2024)
A woman with side hip pain after sitting on the edge of the bed.

Waking up with hip pain can be a common complaint, especially if you’re a side sleeper. Hip pain from sleeping on your side is caused by pressure on your hips. There are several strategies and remedies to help alleviate hip pain and ensure a more comfortable night’s sleep.

Why Do My Hips Hurt When I Sleep?

There are several factors that can contribute to side hip pain when you sleep. These factors include the following:

  • Poor Mattress Support: The mattress you sleep on plays a significant role in hip pain. If your mattress is too firm or too soft, it can create pressure points on your hips. A mattress that lacks proper support may not evenly distribute your body weight, leading to discomfort.
  • Inadequate Pillow Support: The type and number of pillows you use can affect your hip alignment. When your head and neck are not properly supported, it can lead to poor spinal alignment, which can then put added pressure on your hips.
  • Sleeping Position: The way you sleep on your side can also contribute to hip pain. A fetal position, where your knees are curled tightly toward your chest, can increase hip discomfort. Additionally, having one leg draped over the other can exacerbate pressure on the hip joint.
  • Age and Joint Health: As we age, the cushioning in our joints, such as the hips, can wear down. Arthritis and other joint conditions can lead to hip pain, especially when side sleeping.
  • Injuries and Strain: Previous injuries or muscle strain can make sleeping on your side painful, as the pressure on the injured area can worsen the discomfort.

If you are wondering how to relieve hip pain from sleeping on side, you may want to address these factors. Lifestyle changes and updating your sleeping space may be solutions, but some individuals may have health conditions contributing to their side hip pain.

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Lifestyle Changes for Relief From Side Hip Pain

The first step in relieving hip pain from side sleeping is to select a mattress that provides proper support and comfort. The ideal mattress is one that aligns your spine while cushioning your hips and shoulders. A medium-firm mattress often works well for side sleepers, but individual preferences can vary.

A body pillow can be an excellent investment for side sleepers. It helps maintain proper spinal alignment and reduces the pressure on your hips. You can place the body pillow between your legs, which helps prevent your upper leg from pulling your spine out of alignment.

Another way to relieve side hip pain is pillow adjustment. Make sure your pillow properly supports your head and neck. You want your spine to be in a neutral position, so your head isn’t too high or too low. This will help maintain hip alignment and reduce pressure.

Gentle stretching before bedtime can help alleviate tension in your hip and leg muscles. Focus on stretching your hips, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Yoga or simple leg stretches can be particularly helpful.

Placing a pillow between your knees while sleeping on your side can reduce hip pain by keeping your hips and spine in better alignment. You can use a regular pillow or purchase a knee pillow designed for this purpose.

If your hip pain is persistent, consider experimenting with different sleep positions. Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees or using a body pillow to provide support can help alleviate hip pain.

Health Changes for Hip Pain Relief

If you have a quality mattress and have tried changing your sleeping positions without relief, you may have a health condition contributing to your side hip pain. Some tips on how to relieve hip pain from sleeping on your side include:

Reduce Inflammation
If your hip pain is due to inflammation, you can apply heat or cold therapy to the affected area. A warm compress or heating pad can help relax the muscles and reduce stiffness. Alternatively, a cold pack can help numb the area and reduce inflammation – NSAID medications can also relieve pain.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Engaging in regular exercise and strength-training routines can improve the overall health of your hip joints and reduce the risk of pain. Also, maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help reduce the strain on your hips.
Consult a Healthcare Professional
If your hip pain is persistent or severe, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional. They can diagnose any underlying conditions and recommend specific treatments, such as physical therapy, medications, or, in rare cases, surgery.

A man sleeping on his side.
Hip pain from sleeping on your side can be caused by many different factors. By addressing the potential causes, you can significantly reduce hip pain and enjoy a more restful night’s sleep. If your pain persists or worsens, consult your doctor for an evaluation and personalized recommendations.

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