Pain Can Reduce Sleep, But Sleep Can Reduce Pain. So How To Sleep When You're In Pain?
It's no secret to doctors and pain patients that pain can make it difficult to sleep. It's also no secret that sleeping well can reduce feelings of overall pain that can occur when you're exhausted. Now, however, researchers have found that sleep helps make you less sensitive to pain. Not in the sense of becoming numb, but just making it easier to not be oversensitive to those twinges and aches.
That, of course, is frustrating news to people who have chronic pain that wakes them up or that prevents them from sleeping. This is a vicious cycle as the sleep deprivation from the pain increases the sensitivity to the pain, and the problem builds from there. But it points to an additional approach to your pain management: caring for your sleep cycle and ensuring you do eventually sleep in a restful manner. While some tactics are easy and rather obvious, such as adjusting your pain medication so you can take it before you sleep, others may not seem as connected.
Improve That Sleep Hygiene
You may be so focused on lessening pain from your health problem that you forget about the little aches that an old mattress or bad pillow can cause. Ensure your bed is comfortable, that the room's temperature is comfortable (at least as far as you can change it), and that you avoid caffeine and other wake-up calls before sleeping. Really pay attention to your blue light exposure and screen time.
Clear out That Mind
You may also want to try a brief meditation before you sleep. Prevention reported in 2014 that a brief session of mindful meditation — one where you're simply sitting quietly and trying to be very in the present moment — could help people fall asleep by calming their chattery thoughts (as well as having some positive neurological effects). Note that this is not the type of meditation where you have to keep your mind blank; all you're doing is paying attention to the here and now, and pulling your attention back to the here and now if you find your mind has drifted.
Address Additional Health Issues
Anything that makes it harder for you to sleep will only add to the pain's effect. So, if you can't get rid of the pain, at least get rid of whatever else is affecting your sleep. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, for example, look into treatments for that, which can range from CPAP masks to losing weight. If you live in a noisy area near a freeway, look into white noise masking or other strategies to keep it quiet around you.
Speak with the doctor handling your pain treatments about sleep and trying to get more. Whatever you can improve regarding your sleeping environment will only help you deal with your pain. Reach out to a company like Next Level Regeneration LLC for more tips on pain management.