How To Sleep Well With Varicose Veins

Comfortable Sleep with Varicose Veins

If you’re one of the over 30 million Americans with varicose veins, you know how the achy legs, burning, swelling, and discomfort can make sleep elusive. Tossing and turning all night certainly doesn’t help you feel rested and refreshed in the morning. Are you worried about how to sleep well with varicose veins? The good news is there are many simple lifestyle tweaks and over-the-counter aids to help you sleep more soundly despite varicose veins. Let’s review key strategies for optimal sleep positioning, mattress choice, bedtime routine adjustments, and more.

As women especially age, many develop the hallmark squiggly, enlarged purple varicose veins, usually on the legs. Beyond appearance concerns, varicose veins cause issues like:

  • Pain, tenderness, throbbing
  • Muscle cramping
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Nighttime leg restlessness that disturbs sleep

Getting quality shuteye is challenging enough without your varicose veins acting up all night long. But you can take back control using clever sleep adjustments to minimize nighttime discomfort in your legs.

How To Sleep Well With Varicose Veins Step By Step

Follow these practical varicose vein sleep tips and tricks to finally get some much-needed rest.

Sleeping Positions for Varicose Vein Comfort

Let’s start with sleep positioning tweaks to take pressure off sensitive veins at night:

Back Sleeping: The most recommended overnight position is back sleeping. Place a pillow under the knees to slightly bend and elevate the legs. Use another pillow under the lower calves if more elevation is comfortable.

Side Sleeping: If you prefer side snoozing, put a soft pillow between knees and ankles to better align hips and legs. Hugging another pillow against your stomach prevents rolling onto it – another varicose vein discomfort trigger.

Pregnancy Positions: Expectant mothers should sleep on their left side, propped up with plenty of pillows. Bend knees slightly while keeping one pillow between legs and using others to create upper body elevation.

Avoid: Refrain from sleeping on your stomach or flat on the back, both of which increase varicose vein pressure.

Choosing the Best Mattress and Pillows

Mattress surface and pillow support also influence overnight varicose vein relief immensely:

Mattress Material: Softer mattresses like latex or certain memory foams conform better to reduce pressure on protruding varicose veins. Just avoid ultra-soft beds lacking adequate support.

Mattress Topper: A mattress topper adds extra surface-level cushiness to any existing too-firm mattress base. Great for cushioning tender varicose veins cost-effectively.

Pillow Placement: Strategically placing thinner or flatter pillows under varicose vein-prone areas like calves and ankles prevents direct contact and irritation.

Bedtime Routine Adjustments

How you prep before getting into bed also sets the stage for more comfortable varicose vein slumber:

Nightly Massage: Gently massaging veins, calves and lower legs for 10-15 minutes increases beneficial circulation to reduce blood pooling overnight.

Warm (Not Hot) Bath: A soothing 20-minute soak in warm water with Epsom salt boosts vein/vascular health to curb night flare-ups.

Loose Comfy Clothing:  Avoid constrictive pajamas and opt for super stretchy, breathable fabrics like cotton, jersey and modal. The less nightclothes cling to veins, the better.

Compression Socks: Wearing doctor-approved 20-30 mmHg compression stockings to bed may prevent veins from acting up overnight if recommended by your physician.

Elevate Legs: Lie down and raise your legs straight up against a wall for 10 minutes before getting in bed. Using a foam leg rest wedge continues that helpful gravity assist at night.

Hydrate Well: Drink plenty of water during the day, but limit fluids for 1-2 hours pre-bedtime to curb midnight bathroom runs that disrupt sleep.

OTC Medications: Over-the-counter options like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin 30 minutes before bed may combat nighttime varicose vein pain if approved by your doctor.

Lifestyle Adjustments for Improved Varicose Vein Sleep

Preventing varicose veins from compromising sleep quality also requires some daily habit changes:

Exercise: Low-impact activities like walking, swimming, and yoga boost circulation to reduce blood pooling that aggravates varicose veins overnight.

Weight Management: Maintaining healthy body weight minimizes pressure on veins that drive valve dysfunction and damaged vessels behind varicose veins.

Compression Stockings: Daily medical-grade compression socks promote blood flow back to the heart to deter fluid buildup.

Avoid Constipation: Prevent strain and pressure triggering varicose veins by staying hydrated, and active and eating high-fiber foods to maintain regularity.

Leg Elevation: Prop up your legs above heart level as much as possible daily to utilize gravity to assist reducing venous pressure.

Sleep Well With Varicose Veins By Natural Remedies

Here is a table outlining some natural remedies that may help improve sleep for those with varicose veins:

Remedy Description
Elevate legs Raise legs above heart level on pillows to improve circulation and reduce swelling while sleeping.
Apply cold compresses Place a cool, damp washcloth on painful varicose veins to help reduce inflammation.
Try compression socks or stockings Wearing compression garments can aid blood flow in the legs and limit varicose vein symptoms at night.
Do relaxing exercises Light yoga, stretching, or ankle circles before bed may promote relaxation and sleep.
Massage legs Gently massaging legs can increase comfort and sleep quality. Use light strokes toward the heart.
Take warm baths Warm water relaxes muscles and improves blood flow. Add Epsom salts or soothing oils.
Use topical analgesics Apply over-the-counter creams containing menthol, eucalyptus, or capsaicin to numb discomfort.
Drink herbal tea Chamomile, lavender, passionflower, or valerian tea may have mild sedative effects.
Try dietary supplements Magnesium, melatonin, or valerian supplements may help induce drowsiness.
Use cooled herbal compresses Applying compresses soaked in chilled chamomile, lavender, or peppermint tea may relieve pain.

Always check with a doctor before trying new supplements or herbal remedies. Proper treatment of the underlying varicose veins can also improve comfort and sleep.


Do varicose veins hurt more at night?

For many sufferers, yes – laying prone overnight and blood pooling due to inactivity creates inflammation and tenderness. Certain positions, bedding aids and nightly prep help prevent flares.

Why are my varicose veins throbbing at night?

The inactivity of sleep allows blood to pool and collect inside damaged varicose veins rather than pumping back to the heart efficiently. This causes distension and tenderness.

What is the best medication for varicose vein pain at night?

OTC NSAID options like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin 30 minutes before bed may help if approved by your doctor. Prescription vein treatments offer more targeted relief long-term.

Last Words

Difficulty sleeping well is a common complaint accompanying varicose veins in the legs. Thankfully, comfort-focused tweaks to your sleep setup, bedtime routine, and lifestyle make a big difference in minimizing overnight symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor about the best varicose vein treatments as well – addressing underlying dysfunction protects against progressive worsening that also disrupts restorative rest. Prioritize sleep health alongside proper varicose vein care and management to wake up feeling your best every day. You’ve got this!


My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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