How to Sleep With Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome can seriously affect your sleep because it causes you pain, soreness, and severe discomfort and can even make you throw up overnight.

Sleep is very important, and it will be much easier and more comfortable for you if you have an idea of how to sleep with Piriformis Syndrome.

We have listed some possible ways how to sleep with Piriformis Syndrome to help ease the pain and also help get you a good night’s sleep.

What is Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis syndrome occurs in a situation when the sciatic nerve is disturbed by the piriformis muscle seen behind the hip joint in the buttocks.

It causes pain, ringing, and numbness in the back of the leg to the foot. It makes its victim feel uncomfortable and has little or no sleep at night.

The piriformis syndrome pain comes from the muscle, unlike people with sciatica.

It is a neuromuscular disorder caused by piriformis muscle compression of the nerve. As we know, the muscle is important for everybody’s activity and movement as it stabilizes the joints, lifts, and rotates the thigh away from the body.

The piriformis muscle is found at the buttocks near the top of the hip.

It is responsible for enabling us to walk and shift weight from one foot to another and maintain body balance. Generally, the piriformis concerns the leg and the hip.

How to Sleep With Piriformis Syndrome

Below are some ways how to sleep with Piriformis Syndrome.

1. Sleeping Positions

The sciatic nerve contracts quickly when we sleep, which in turn can increase the symptoms of piriformis syndrome.

Therefore, a sleeping position that maintains a proper spinal alignment is best for piriformis syndrome as it allows you to relax in a comfortable position.

As you read on, you will find the different sleeping positions best for piriformis syndrome and how to change them to suit your condition.

Back Sleep

The best place to sleep for piriformis syndrome is on your back. It keeps your neck, back, and hips straight and supported.

It also provides the best distribution of weight over the mattress. Just be sure to add a pillow under your knees for support, especially if you have lower back pain.

Sleeping on your back makes your muscles relax, and if this position works for you and helps your situation, why not grab this style.

Side Sleeping

Side sleeping is another way to sleep with piriformis syndrome.
Lying on the side keeps your spine aligned, but you can also pull your lower back off your legs.

People lying on their sides should place a pillow between their knees to avoid pulling. This will help prevent hip pain and irritation near the piriformis muscles.

Do not forget that if side sleeping suits you best, you will have to get a suitable pillow to help your muscles align perfectly in a way that reduces your pain and enables you to sleep well.

Reclined Sleeper

Reclined sleep is one of the best positions to help you sleep better. You can support your upper body with pillows or a pillow bed to sleep comfortably.

If that doesn’t help, the sitting chair will do the trick. For some people, this position suits them best as it helps them relax even better and more comfortably.

Stomach Sleeper

This is the worst sleeping position for patients with piriformis syndrome. When lying on your stomach, you tend to turn your head to one side, extending your spine in a straight line.

Sleeping on your stomach also causes your shoulders to lean forward and puts more pressure on your spine.

In addition, this sleeping position takes your spine out of alignment.

2. Pillow Choice

It does not stop at getting the best idea on how to sleep with piriformis syndrome. It boils down to using the right pillow while you sleep, as they both work hand in hand.

Generally, an unsupportive pillow can disrupt your peaceful sleep and give you less quality sleep.

In this condition, the best pillow to use is the Orthopedic pillow. Pillows differ, so you will have to take your time to check for the best type of pillow that suits your condition.

For the sciatic nerve not to be compressed, rightly positioning your pillow should be your concern.

Using these pillows rightly will help you, and you may see a complete decrease in lower back pain, muscle spasms, and nerve pain. So you have to choose wisely.

Back Sleepers

Choose a thin pillow in the middle and place it under your head. Add a cervical pillow and one to two pillows below the knees for complete support and weight distribution.

This will help you sleep and relax better without pain and discomfort.

Side Sleepers

Choose a thick pillow in the middle of your head, then add a pillow between your knees to help promote neutral spinal alignment.

Side sleepers can also find comfort and support in body pillows.

Reclining Sleepers

Choose pillows like wedge cushions to raise your head and knees and reduce pressure on the lower back.

This will help all your muscles align rightly and help you sleep comfortably.

Stomach Sleepers

Please do not choose a thin or very thin pillow under the head, but try to avoid this sleeping style as it stresses the neck and spine.

Instead, insert a pillow under the abdomen to prevent the spine from forming a U-shape.

Some Types of Pillows That Could Help Include;
  • Spa pillow
  • Half-moon lumbar cushion
  • Memory foam mattress topper
  • Bed wedge
  • C-shaped body pillow
  • Cervical Pillow
  • Full-body pillow
  • Water pillow

3. Mattress Quality

This is another factor to consider when suffering from severe or chronic pain associated with piriformis syndrome.

No prescriptive drug will stop the flow of emotions, though their effects can be managed.

For many people, a strong central mattress will help maintain spinal alignment. Also, the best mattress will have a lot of support and padding to enable you to sleep peacefully.

A thick mattress can do the magic of making you sleep comfortably with piriformis syndrome.

Research suggests that an excellent mattress to promote comfort in sleep, quality, and spinal alignment is strong-centred and customizable or adjustable.

You should also consider two factors affecting mattress quality which are support and comfort.

When it comes to support, consider the internal function of the mattress.

The total amount of support depends on a few factors, including your preferences, height and weight, and sleeping style.

4. Stretching

Stretching is a good way of getting ready for bed. It will help you sleep well with your muscles relaxed.

It helps reduces tension and stiffness and makes your back and muscles aligned. An effective piriformis stretch will cover your lower back, waist, hips, and legs.

These stretches should also help your body get ready for a good night’s sleep making the muscles relaxed.

Regular, gentle stretching prepares your body for sleep. Studies suggest that just four months of stretching can improve symptoms of piriformis syndrome.

Also, effective stretching promotes sleep quality better than when participants perform more strenuous exercises, such as aerobics.

Some of the Stretches You Can Try to Include;

Seated Piriformis Stretch

This is the most direct stretch you can make to target the piriformis muscles directly. You can do it sitting at work or on the couch watching TV in the evening.

It is the easiest of all stretches. Seek a good upright posture while stretching out the ankle you want to stretch.

Make sure the legs are relaxed. Remember never to force stretching if it makes your symptoms worse.

Supine Hamstring Stretch With a Strap

The hamstrings often become stiff and painful as piriformis syndrome progresses.

This is especially true as the sciatic nerve runs in the same direction as the hamstring muscles.

Extending this common problem can bring much-needed relief. Lie on your back and place the leg you wish to stretch on the loop of the belt, and secure each end with your hands.

Then, gently lift the whole leg toward the ceiling as high as you can walk comfortably.

Trunk Rotations

The lumbar spine may feel stiff and painful as the piriformis connects to the lower back. Some lower back stretches may sound good in dealing with back pain.

Lie on your back with your knees close or touching. Raise both feet on the floor while keeping the knees bent until the hips are about 90 degrees of flexion.

Then, slowly turn your knees from side to side- as far as you can relax on your back

5. Heat Therapy

If the hip pain burns at night, try setting the temperature on the affected area. Heat can relieve pain and increase blood circulation, which helps the body to repair and recover.

If this suits your condition, make sure you do it because the goal is trying to catch a good sleep.

6. Massage Relief

If you have ever suffered from hip pain caused by the piriformis muscle at night, massage therapy can help relax the tight muscles throughout the night.

Massage can be done at any time. You can seek professional help, or you can use massage techniques and tools to guide the areas.

Identifying the right places can improve blood flow and help restore muscle.


How to sleep with Piriformis Syndrome is something that you should know if you suffer from this syndrome. You can try some of the different methods mentioned above.

If you found this post helpful, do well to share it with others.

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