6 Ways for Chronic Pain-Sufferers to Have a Better Sleep
It is especially important for pain sufferers to have a restful sleep in order to wake up with the energy to fight back against their symptoms and maintain their health. Often being in pain and living with physical conditions like arthritis, sciatica, or fibromyalgia can make having an uninterrupted sleep more challenging. Follow these 6 simple tips to break the cycle of chronic fatigue and get back to feeling energized during the day.
1. Tune Your Sleeping Environment
Make sure that the room you are sleeping in is cool. Either turn up the air conditioning, invest in a tower fan, or crack a window. According to researchers it is actually healthier for your body to be cool when you are sleeping. A drop in your body's core temperature sends a signal that it is time for bed. It is also important that your room is extremely dark. Even that little light beaming from your alarm clock could disturb your sleep. Invest in blackout curtains that prevent even the slightest bit of a street light from interrupting your REM.
2. Customize Your Sleeping Position
If you suffer from chronic pain your sleeping position could heavily affect the localized pain in your body. For example, if you suffer from severe neck pain you can invest in a memory foam pillow that ensures your spine is supported as you sleep on your back. If you suffer from sciatica you can sleep on one side with your leg elevated on a pillow to alleviate shooting pains. Experiment with the sleeping position that best comforts your painful condition and stop tossing and turning before bed.
3. Go to Sleep When You Are Tired
Your bed is not a work desk, a dinner table, or an entertainment room. Ultimately you need to stop working, eating, and watching Netflix in your place of rest if you want to train your body to doze off quickly. Don't hop into your bed until you are done your daily activities and are feeling exhausted enough to get some shut eye. People with TVs in their bedroom end up having shorter and more restless sleeps because they are distracted and bothered by the bright screen and constant distraction. Reserve your bed for sleep and watch your body react accordingly.
4. Drink Herbal Tea
Lay off the sugar and caffeinated beverages 2-4 hours before bed in order to allow your body to relax and unwind. Make sure your dinner is digested well before bedtime and follow up with a natural and refreshing dessert that doesn't leave you hyped up: tea. Herbal teas contain ingredients that promote sleep, such as chamomile and peppermint, that can calm the body's sympathetic nervous system and reduce stress before bed.
5. Stop Counting
Instead of counting sheep we end up counting the amount of hours we will log in if we fall asleep right... now. It is common to begin worrying about how long it is taking for us to fall asleep. "I need to get up early for a meeting tomorrow", "this sleep is going to throw off my whole week", "if I fall asleep in 5 minutes I will get 5 hours of sleep", these are all worries we begin running through as soon as our head hits the pillow. These thoughts are not productive and end up hurting us. We can decide "I will worry about this tomorrow" and allow ourselves the sleep we have been craving.
6. Prepare for Sleep During the Day
You don't have to wait for the sun to go down to start preparing for bed. Working out during the day can release your body's pent up energy. If you suffer from chronic pain, engaging in regular physical activity during the day can prevent joints from feeling stiff, prevent against muscular injury, and release natural pain killers. Increase your exposure to light during the day; sitting in a dark room or laying in bed during the day can throw off your body. Make sure your body recognizes the difference between the time to be awake and the time to rest. Finally, eat a balanced diet during the day so that you wind down in the evening instead of crashing in daylight.
Sleep is just as important for our body as the foods we eat and the water we drink. Make sure you are well rested and prepared for the day ahead