6 Tips for Sleeping Better With Chronic Pain
For those living with chronic pain, sometimes sleep is the only time of relief and comfort. But oftentimes people who suffer from chronic pain can feel so uncomfortable that they will develop sleep problems over time. What's worse is not getting enough sleep will not only make you tired but can actually make your chronic pain even worse.
When we sleep, our body heals from things that happen throughout the day and also replenishes its energy reserves. So not getting enough sleep will only make your pain worse. Some people with chronic pain will wake up tired even when they do get sleep. That is because sometimes the pain will cause constant microarousals, which are shifts to lighter and less restful phases of sleep.
The good news is that it's possible to sleep even if you live with chronic pain. Adding insomnia treatments to your chronic pain treatment can help you with both problems. Here are a few tips you can follow if you can't stop tossing and turning at night:1. Get your pain under control
When your pain is subdued and more tolerable, the chances of getting a good night's rest are greatly improved. Most people who have effective pain treatment usually notice it also greatly improves their sleep. Acupuncture, medications, and relaxation techniques can all be used for various types of chronic pain. To see what will work best for you, visit a pain management clinic or talk to a physician who specializes in chronic pain.2. Consider sleep aids
If you have problems with getting to sleep, talk to your doctor to see if a prescription insomnia medicine is a right fit for you. It works by slowing activity in the brain which will cause sleepiness. Sometimes antidepressants like trazodone can be used to treat insomnia. Keep in mind that most sleep aids are only designed for short-term use and should never be used for more than a few weeks at a time.3. Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, and even some sodas. It's a stimulant that blocks sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain, making you feel more alert. If you have sleep problems, it's best to avoid drinking caffeine or at least stop their consumption by the afternoon to give time for their effects to wear off.4. Exercise regularly
Did you know that exercising four to eight hours before bedtime can greatly improve your sleep quality? One possible factor for sleeplessness is anxiety, which is something that physical activity helps reduce. Another benefit is that regular exercise can lessen many forms of chronic pain such as fibromyalgia. Just be sure to leave plenty of time between your exercise session and bedtime. If you exercise too late in the day, it may result in the opposite effect and keep you awake longer.5. Check your medications
There are some prescription medications that can actually cause insomnia. One such example is cortisone, a hormone often used for inflammation can prevent you from sleeping. Over-the-counter cold and cough medications, some thyroid medications, and levodopa (a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease) can also cause sleeplessness. Talk to your doctor about alternative therapies if you think there is a chance that your medication is interfering with your sleep.6. Practice good sleep hygiene
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can greatly improve your sleep quality. It's best to avoid taking naps during the day if you want to fall asleep quicker at bedtime. Some people find it helpful to establish a sleep ritual, like eating a light snack, taking a warm bath, or reading a book just before bedtime.
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