Tips to Sleep Better
If you suffer from chronic pain, you know all too well that it can interfere with a good night’s sleep. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from pain related sleep loss. Sometimes just a couple daily adjustments are needed to improve the situation, other times you may need to consider more of a lifestyle change. Getting less sleep than what is needed can lead to a more stressful life, as well as other health-related issues, such as sleep apnea. Having chronic pain can increase your chances of getting less sleep than you should be getting. Many people need to make adjustments in order to be able to sleep better and the importance of making some of the changes is magnified if you are one of those suffering from chronic pain.
Here are some simple tips to help you get a better night’s sleep:
Live a healthier lifestyle
This doesn’t mean you need to go on a Paleo diet or start counting carbs religiously, though a healthy weight will reduce the amount of stress you are putting on your body. Rather, look to reduce or completely cut caffeine from your daily routine. While caffeine can give you the boost you may need to wake up for the day, it can cause you to become restless at night. Try to avoid eating late right before you go to bed. If you need to fill an appetite void, eat lightly. Do not consume fatty or spicy food. Find a way to get a workout in during the day as well. It doesn’t have to be a crazy, two-hour weight lifting marathon, especially if you are dealing with chronic pain. Focus on your core muscles. Try simple crunches or plank exercises in 15-30 second intervals.
Set a sleep schedule
For those parents reading this, you know how important a sleep schedule can be for the routine in your kids’ lives. The same is true for adults! Having a routine allows the body to adjust for the sleep period you need. Many of us need to wind down before we are able to relax enough to fall asleep. Build that time into your sleep schedule. Work on getting yourself focused on relaxing, not sleeping. Take a warm bath to relax the body and alleviate some of your pain. Or, do some light stretching, which can help loosen up those achy joints. And PLEASE, avoid electronics. Put away the smartphones and tablets. While it may make your eyes seems droopy and tired, the exposure is bad for them and the stimulation from focusing on the screens can negatively affect your sleep.
Choose a bed and pillows that make you comfortable
This goes in line with part of the above-mentioned “relaxing.” All mattress and pillow manufacturer’s claim to have the best product to alleviate pain, and to a certain extent, they are all correct. Choose whatever makes YOU comfortable. Your ability to be comfortable allows you to alleviate pain and get better sleep. This not only helps with your physical pain but, can help reduce mental burdens as well. A better night’s sleep with less physical pain will reduce your stress levels.
Try changing your sleeping position
While many still believe sleeping on your back is the best position, this again comes down to your comfort level. Try changing it up. Adjust to sleeping on your side, maybe using a body pillow if needed. If you have back pain, sleeping on your stomach typically is frowned upon. However, if you are a stomach sleeper, experiment with putting a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to help with the strain to your back.
Talk to your doctor about supplements that may help you sleep better
For example, a 2012 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that people who ingested magnesium showed marked improvement in their overall sleep duration and sleep quality. Magnesium supplements are available in pill, powder or oil. Alternatively, you might try eating more magnesium-rich foods like dark leafy greens, nuts or avocados. Your doctor may have some other ideas for supplements that would be appropriate for you, based on various health and lifestyle factors.
Treat your pain for better sleep
Finally, if chronic pain is interfering with your sleep, talk to a professional health practitioner to find out what your treatment options are to either eliminate or manage pain. Depending on the source and severity, there are numerous possible regiments encompassing multiple modalities that can help you get rid of pain and sleep better.
Start a path towards alleviating your pain
All of us need a good night’s rest. It can be difficult enough with our busy schedules these days, not to mention if you are living with some pain. But if you stick to these tips, sleeping better is achievable. If these do not help your pain, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers and we will help put you on a path towards alleviating your pain. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us!