What to Do if Pain Prevents a Full Night's Rest
Back, shoulders, neck—no matter where the pain starts, it can often end in a sleepless night. Unfortunately, sleep loss only contributes to more pain, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Though it may take time, consistent effort to manage and reduce pain can help you get the rest you sorely need.
The Relationship Between Sleep and Pain
It's easy to see how pain can interfere with sleep, but lack of sleep can also magnify pain. Sleep deprivation begins anytime you get less than seven hours of sleep. The less sleep you get the more pronounced the symptoms become.
A number of studies have been done on pain tolerance in relation to sleep and some have shown that pain tolerance can increase by as much as 25 percent when you get eight hours of sleep. The irony is the very thing you need to reduce pain – sleep – can be consistently interrupted by pain. However, if you can bring nighttime pain levels down, you’ll have a better chance of getting the sleep you need.
Include regular check-ups with your chiropractor to reduce sources of pain from your spine. A better connected body to its power source-- the brain-- is one of the best ways to reduce pain.
Manage Pain Before Bed
Managing pain before bed is one of the most logical ways to help yourself get a better night’s rest. Give yourself time to find what works (and what doesn't) for you, but as you consistently address pain, you'll find it easier to keep it under control.
Take natural anti-inflammatorys like Boswellia Complex, Fish oil, and or take a warm shower before bed. You may also use a cold wash cloth with ice inside and apply this to your areas of pain.
Exercise Regularly: Though some types of pain may limit your ability to exercise, don't discount swimming, walking, and other low-impact methods. Exercise can improve the quality of your sleep and make it easier to fall asleep.
Yoga: (Make sure your chiropractor approves your exercise first) Yoga is a form of exercise, so this technically goes with our previous suggestion. But, it can help with pain enough that we’ve included it in its own category. Yoga incorporates meditative breathing with various physical poses to help strengthen yet relax the body. A gentle yoga routine can help reduce inflammation, improve mobility, and increase energy levels. A few simple poses done next to or in your bed can help you drift off to sleep easier.
Improve Your Sleep Hygiene
As you're working on better pain management, pay attention to how you can improve your sleep-related habits (sleep hygiene) too.
Create Ideal Bedroom Conditions
Ideal conditions go beyond a comfortable mattress. The bedroom should be dark with as little natural and artificial light as possible. Your body temperature needs to drop, which is easier if the room stays cool, somewhere between 60 to 68 degrees. And, of course, tone it down. You can’t shush noisy neighbors or silence passing cars but you can invest in a white noise machine if you need to cut down on sound.
Consistency Helps the Brain
A consistent bedtime and bedtime routine help your brain recognize when to start the sleep cycle. Include some of your pain management techniques in your bedtime routine and be sure to perform each activity at the same time and in the same order.
Avoid Screens and Stimulants
The bright light emitted from many popular electronic devices can suppress sleep hormones. Limit your use two or three hours before bed and keep devices, including smartphones and TVs, out of the bedroom.
Stimulants interfere with sleep by blocking sleep hormones. Cut back on caffeine consumption in the early afternoon and eliminate it all together four hours before bedtime.
Pain doesn’t have to control your life. Better sleep and regular pain management can certainly help you get the full seven to nine hours of sleep your body needs.