Hip Pain from Sleeping on Your Side – Causes and Relief

Do you feel hip pain after sleeping on your side? You’re not the only one. Research shows that about one in five people over 65 feel this. It’s more common in women, especially those between 40 and 60 years old. Hip pain at night can make falling asleep hard.

The main reasons for hip pain when sleeping are bursitis, osteoarthritis, and sciatic-piriformis syndrome. Other reasons include injuries, pregnancy, and your sleeping position. Even how soft or hard your mattress is can play a part. The pain can feel like needles or be more of a dull, burning ache.

Sleeping on your side puts a lot of pressure on your hip joint. This pressure can cause pain not just in the hip you’re laying on, but also in the other hip. Over fifty different things, like osteoarthritis, bursitis, and hip flexor strain, could be the cause of your hip pain.

Key Takeaways

  • Chronic hip pain at night affects around 1 in 5 people over 65, with women aged 40-60 at higher risk.
  • Common causes include bursitis, osteoarthritis, sciatic-piriformis syndrome, and tendonitis.
  • Side sleepers are prone to hip pain due to pressure on the hip joint.
  • Injury, pregnancy, sleep position, and mattress firmness can also contribute to hip pain.
  • Seeking medical attention is recommended if home remedies don’t provide relief.

Understanding Hip Pain from Sleeping on Your Side

If you sleep on your side, you might know all about hip pain. It’s pretty common, especially among women between 40 and 60. About one in five folks over 65 deal with hip pain while sleeping. This can really mess with your sleep and make it hard to even get to sleep.

Prevalence and Risk Factors

Studies show that sleeping on your side can squeeze your hip joint. This squeezing leads to pain, with women facing a higher risk. It could be because women’s hips are shaped differently. Also, some health issues like osteoarthritis and bursitis are more common in women.

Types of Hip Pain and Symptoms

Hip pain from side sleeping comes in different forms. You might feel pins and needles, a grab, an ache, or burning. Figuring out what kind and where the pain is helps you and your doctor find out why it’s happening. Then, you can work on a good plan to treat it.

hip pain from sleeping on side

Sleep Position and Mattress Firmness

Your sleeping style and mattress softness matter a lot for hip pain. Sleep on your side if you’re used to sleeping on your back. Change sides often to help. A pillow between your legs can ease pressure on your hips and keep them in line.

A too hard or too soft mattress may hurt your hip more. Side sleepers need to find the right medium level of firmness. The right mattress support is crucial for side sleepers.

Pressure Relief for Hips

If it’s hard to change how you sleep, a pillow placed well can make a big difference. Put it between your knees or a bit behind your back. This can really help side sleepers with their hip pain.

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Common Causes of Hip Pain at Night

Do you ever have hip pain that makes sleep hard? You’re not alone. Hip bursitis, hip osteoarthritis, and hip tendonitis are the main reasons for this. Sleeping might even make the pain worse for you.


Hip bursitis makes the sacs around the hip joint get sore. Causes can be too much use, a joint disease, or an injury. This can bring pain on the outer hip and thigh. The hurt gets stronger after sitting a long time or when you sleep on that side.

Hip Osteoarthritis and Other Types of Arthritis

Osteoarthritis is a common issue with hip joints. It slowly wears down the cartilage, causing swelling, pain, and stiff joints. Psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis also cause hip pain. Such pain can disturb your sleep.

Hip Tendonitis

Hip tendonitis comes from strained tendons. This might happen from using them too much or bad posture. You could feel a dull ache in your groin area. It gets worse when using stairs and at night, causing hip pain.

Sciatic-Piriformis Syndrome and Pinched Nerves

Have you ever felt hip pain at night? This could be due to sciatic-piriformis syndrome. It happens when the piriformis muscle presses the sciatic nerve. You may feel numb, pain, or a tingle in your lower back, butt, leg, or foot. At night, it might feel like a burn in your calf or a throb in your foot. These sharp pains can suddenly wake you up.

Pinched nerves in the hip can also cause nighttime discomfort. They lead to heavy pain and uneasy movements. What causes pinched nerves? Long sitting, pregnancy, herniated discs, arthritis, strain, and extra weight can play a role.

If hip pain keeps bothering you at night, see a doctor. They will find out the real problem and suggest what to do. Fixing the issue, whether it’s sciatic-piriformis syndrome or a pinched nerve, will help you sleep better.

Hip Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is often a happy time, but it can also hurt your hips. About 32% of pregnant women feel hip pain. This gets worse as the baby grows and your body gets ready for birth.

Labral Tears and Hernias

During pregnancy, lower back and pelvic pain are common. Sometimes, hip pain can be from labral tears or hernias. These conditions cause more pain, especially later in pregnancy.

Positioning and Pillows for Relief

Healthcare experts suggest ways to fight hip pain during pregnancy. This includes wearing good shoes and stretching often. It also helps to sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees or using a pregnancy pillow. These steps can help your hips and back feel better, providing relief and support.

By learning about hip pain during pregnancy and taking steps early, you can feel better. This makes your journey through pregnancy more comfortable.

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Exercise-Related Hip Pain

If you love dancing, football, or running, watch out for hip pain. These activities might stress your hip too much. Damage could happen to parts like bursae, tendons, and ligaments. This damage can cause bursitis, tendinopathy, and iliotibial band syndrome. All of these lead to hip pain.

Overuse Injuries

Doing the same moves a lot or high-impact activities can hurt your hips. This happens over time. You could get injuries from too much stress on your hip tissues. These injuries cause pain, swelling, and less moving. It’s important to know and treat these injuries to stop hip pain.

Sudden Intensity Changes

Also, if you suddenly do more or harder exercise, your hips might hurt. Your body needs time to get used to changes. If you push too quickly, you might get hurt. It’s best to slowly make your exercises harder. This helps avoid sudden hip problems.

Other Causes of Nighttime Hip Pain

Nighttime hip pain might be from bursitis, osteoarthritis, and tendonitis. But, it could also be because of your past hip injuries or accidents. Age, weight, and pain from other body parts play a role, too.

Injury and Accidents

Hip injuries from falls, dislocations, or fractures can lead to severe night pain. The pain may persist after the initial injury heals. This is especially true when you’re trying to sleep.

Age and Weight Factors

As you age, hip issues like osteoarthritis and bursitis become more likely. This is often seen in menopausal or post-menopausal women. Extra weight also brings more stress on your hips, which can cause sleepless nights.

Referred Pain

Nighttime hip pain might actually come from other places like your back or knee. This is called referred pain. It makes your hip area ache or feel sore, making you lose sleep. So, knowing the true cause is important for real relief.

Treatments and Relief for Hip Pain

Do you have hip pain that makes it hard to sleep? There are many ways to find immediate and long-term relief. Knowing the best treatments can also stop the pain from happening again. The key may be in lifestyle changes.

Immediate Relief Options

If your hips hurt at night, try changing how you sleep. Use pillows that support your body. Also, you can take medicines such as ibuprofen. Using ice or heat on your hips can feel better too.

Long-Term Treatment Approaches

Is your hip pain a long-lasting problem? Your doctor may suggest some serious treatments. These can include a new mattress that’s firmer. Or, they might prescribe strong medicines or give you shots. You might need surgery if it’s really bad.

Lifestyle Changes and Prevention

To keep hip pain away, change how you live:

  • Do gentle exercise like swimming to make your hips stronger.
  • Try to keep a healthy weight to lessen the pressure on your hips.
  • Have good sleep habits, like sleeping and waking up at the same time. Make sure your bed is comfy.
  • Do stretches and exercises to help your hips, like moving your legs in circles or lifting them up.
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If the pain doesn’t go away, see a doctor. Finding the cause is the first step to stopping the pain. With the right mix of treatments and lifestyle fixes, hip pain can go away. You can get back to better sleep.


Hip pain from sleeping on your side can happen for many reasons. It includes bursitis, osteoarthritis, and other issues. How you sleep and your mattress can add to the pain. Changing sleeping positions, pillow use, and some medicines can ease the pain short-term. But for some, they might need physical therapy, more medicine, or surgery. Staying healthy by exercising and watching your weight can also help against hip pain from sleeping on your side.

Talk with your doctor to figure out the real cause of your hip pain. Then, work together on a plan to treat it. With care from you and your doctor, you can beat the pain. This way, you can sleep better and enjoy life more.

To handle hip pain from sleeping on your side, you need a mix of steps. But the main aim is to sleep better, feel less pain, and stay active. If the pain doesn’t go, or gets worse, get help from a pro. They can guide you on the right steps to take.


What are the most common causes of hip pain from sleeping on your side?

Hip pain from side sleeping is often due to bursitis or arthritis. Tendonitis and sciatica can also hurt. If you’re pregnant or active, it might happen more.

How can sleep position and mattress firmness contribute to hip pain?

Sleeping on the side can press the hip joint. A mattress that’s too soft or hard makes this pain grow. Hugging a pillow while you sleep can help by keeping your hips even.

What are some immediate relief options for nighttime hip pain?

When your hip hurts at night, change how you sleep. Use a special pillow for your knees. Over-the-counter drugs for pain can help. Putting ice or warm packs can soothe the pain too.

What are some long-term treatment approaches for chronic hip pain?

For ongoing hip pain, you may need a sturdier mattress. Health treatments like drugs and steroids could help. Physical therapy is another good step. In tough cases, surgery might be needed.

How can lifestyle changes and prevention help with hip pain from side sleeping?

Staying fit with exercise and eating foods that fight inflammation can reduce hip pain. Also, watching your weight is important. All this can stop hip pain from side sleeping.