Sleeping Tips for Patients with Chronic Pain
We’ve compiled some sleep tricks that you may find useful to help you regulate and improve your sleeping patterns.
1. Only go to bed when you are tired
Do not allow yourself to toss and turn in bed. This only makes things worse, and usually you’ll end up stressing about everything you have to do the next day.
If you are not sleeping within 20 or 30 minutes, get out of bed and engage in something that makes you tired. Try reading a really boring and technical book.
Once you figure out your optimum bed time, do your best to keep a regular sleep schedule.
If your discomfort is making you toss and turn, try using a hot water bottle over the area causing you pain, to help ease your symptoms.
2. Cool the room
Simply cracking the window open in cold weather or cranking the air conditioner a little more in hot weather is a great way to make the room temperature colder and to have a deeper and more restorative sleep.
3. Drink herbal tea
Make a conscious decision to avoid drinks that have caffeine in them such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate. This should also include drinks like fizzy drinks (such as coke) and alcohol.
Chamomile tea is an excellent choice to help you relax.
4. Work up a sweat
While many chronic back pain and neck pain sufferers worry that exercising will aggravate their pain, the opposite is actually true. Being active is better for pain.
Engaging in regular exercise, and strengthening programs help to promote the body’s natural healing process and make you feel better both physically and mentally. As a bonus, exercising will make it easier to fall asleep at night.
Talk to your chiropractor to see what exercises would be right for you.
Try a visualization where you imagine yourself being 100% well again. Maybe watch yourself in your mind doing an activity that currently causes you pain. This might be something like imagining yourself out working in the garden. See yourself smiling and enjoying the activity.
Have a walk with someone, before you go to bed at night so that you can talk through any concerns or jobs that you need to do tomorrow.
With your mind free of worry, gently close your eyes and think of something tranquil and relaxing.
Consider downloading an app that will help you to relax and to go off to sleep. There are many different free apps available on smart phones.
7. Check your bed and pillow – Ask yourself these questions:
Consider whether your pillow and mattress are comfortable. If in doubt, try changing your bed or pillow to see whether you sleep better and with less pain.
What position is most comfortable when sleeping? Are you relaxed on your back, side, or curled up? How do you feel when you wake up in the morning after having slept in those positions?
Certain sleeping positions are recommended for different types of pain.
Patients with pain from osteoarthritis are advised to sleep in the fetal position (on their sides, with knees curled up)
Patients with degenerative disc disease may prefer to sleep on their stomach.
Those with hip pain may achieve relief by placing a pillow between their knees.