What Causes Hip Pain In The Morning After Sleeping?

If you are waking up to hip pain in the morning after sleeping, it can make starting the day miserable. As if waking up early for work wasn’t difficult enough as it is, now you have to deal with tightness and discomfort.

There are a few reasons you might be experiencing this unfortunate circumstance. Most of it has to do with how you sleep. We’ll cover some specific causes of hip pain when you wake up, and provide you with some tips to start feeling better and start the day off right!

What Can Cause Hip Pain In The Morning After Sleeping?

For the most part, people who wake up with pain in their hips and lower back start to feel better as the day progresses.

This is because while you’re sleeping, your body’s natural “ibuprofen” is turned off. Essentially, the production of anti-inflammatory proteins, which would otherwise relieve this stiffness and reduce inflammation in our hips, is halted.

And once we wake up and start moving, our joint tissue begins working as intended again. So what actually causes hip pain in the morning after sleeping?

We know it happened while you slept, which means we can narrow the culprit down to two options: your sleeping position, or the bed you slept on itself.

Your Sleeping Position Is Causing You To Wake Up With Hip Pain

The most likely root cause of your hip pain in the morning is your sleeping position. Most of us just try to fall asleep at any cost, in whatever position is the most comfortable.

Unfortunately, it’s not always true that the most comfortable sleeping position is also the most optimal sleeping position.

The worst sleeping position is lying flat on your stomach, whether you lean off to one side or not. We recommend sleeping on your back with a pillow under your legs, or on your side with a pillow between your legs.

This will take the pressure off your hip joints, which can really take a beating from poor posture over the course of your (hopefully) 8+ hour slumber.

If you struggle to find a comfortable position on your back or your side, and your pillow isn’t helping, consider purchasing a special sleep pillow for your legs. These provide the perfect amount of support so you can be completely relaxed.

Your Old Mattress Could Be The Cause Of Hip Pain In The Morning After Sleeping

The next most likely reason you wake up in the morning with hip pain is your bed. If you have an old, worn out mattress, the springs can be indented in certain areas.

This will make for an uneven sleeping position, and can wreak havoc on your spine, hips, knees, etc.

But, even new mattresses can cause problems. Some people prefer hard mattresses, while others will wake up aching if they sleep on one.

Do some research and find out which type of mattress is right for you, and rule this out as a possibility. If you do suspect it’s the root cause of your issue, invest in a high quality mattress tailored to your preferences!

Other Potential Causes Of Hip Pain When You Wake Up

Aside from the two aforementioned causes, there are a few other potential causes you should consider as well.

If you keep your room super cold, it can cause you to wake up aching until your body gets warmed up. So if you crank that thermostat down at night, consider a more mild sleeping temperature.

Another possible cause is actually your daytime posture. If you slouch or sit all day long, it can cause you to wake up in pain. We recommend you take inventory of your posture constantly throughout the day, and try to stand at least a few hours a day if you work a desk job.

If you’re an athlete, you should consider if you’ve been overtraining. This is more common than most people realize, and chronic fatigue can really add up and contribute to serious pain in the morning, especially after more strenuous exercise. Here are some specific injuries or conditions that can cause hip pain when you wake up:

  • Hip bursitis
  • Hip tendonitis
  • Hip osteoarthritis

Take Steps To Actively Relieve Your Hip Pain

If you still wake up with hip pain in the morning after sleeping even after following any applicable recommendations above, it could be a more serious injury at play.

While you seek out professional care to get an accurate assessment of what’s going on, here are some things you can do to relieve the pain for the time being.

Warm Up Your Body Before Getting Out Of Bed

Upon waking, start stretching your body around, wriggling your extremities, and get your blood flowing rather than immediately jumping out of bed and starting your day.

This will get blood flowing to some of the tight, inflamed areas, and help get those joints lubricated and moving how they’re intended.

To take this a step further, consider getting out of bed after your little warm up and taking a walk around the neighborhood. This will have many more benefits on your day than simply warming up your hips and knees!

Start The Day With A Warm Shower

This tip follows the same principle as the previous one, it’s about warming your body up. A hot shower will raise your body temperature, which can aid in decreasing inflammation.

If time allows and your pain is so severe that it warrants it, consider taking a bath with epsom salt for better results. You can do this at night too.

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Stevie Compango, CNSC, CPT

Stevie is Certified Nutrition Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer for the past 10 years. He specializes in mobility and chronic pain management. His methods have helped thousands of clients improve the quality of their life through movement.

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