What You Can Do to Manage Pain and Sleep
If pain is keeping you up at night, you’re suffering on more than one front. It’s a good idea to treat pain as the primary concern, then maintain healthy sleep habits to support the best sleep quality possible.
- Seek treatment for pain. First and foremost, managing pain as well as possible is essential for alleviating the pain that makes it tough to sleep. Chiropractic and primary care can help with pain management. Don’t avoid taking medications at night if you need them. Although they may have an effect on sleep, trying to sleep while you’re in pain is more problematic. However, it’s a good idea to talk to your medical provider about how your medications may be affecting your sleep and find out if there are alternatives that can alleviate pain without interfering with sleep quality. Keep a pain and sleep journal to track how pain is affecting your sleep each night and ask your doctor if there’s anything they can do to help.
- Get treatment for sleep issues. Like pain treatment, treating sleep problems is a chief concern if you’re struggling to sleep well. Your sleep problems could be more than pain. Insomnia, sleep apnea, night time teeth grinding, and other sleep disorders and problems can rob you of the sleep you need to feel your best and manage pain. Talk to your doctor about treatment options, which may include sleep devices, behavioral therapy, or medication.
- Keep a regular sleep schedule. Make sleep a priority and give yourself extra time to sleep if you find it tough to fall asleep at night. You should shoot for about eight hours of sleep each night, so you can get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. If you think you’re sleeping too much or too little, adjust as needed. Try to go to sleep and wake up at about the same time each night and day, even on weekends and vacation, so your body gets used to the schedule and you may start to feel sleepy around the same time each night.
- Go through a relaxing bedtime routine. Like a consistent sleep schedule, going through a regular, relaxing bedtime routine can send a signal that it’s time for bed, which can help you wind down and get to sleep easier. Your bedtime routine doesn’t have to be extensive; it can be as simple as stretching out and brushing your teeth before you get in bed each night. The consistency is the key part, as starting your bedtime routine tells your brain and body it’s just about bedtime and time to get sleepy. Relaxing bedtime routine ideas that may help alleviate pain include meditation, yoga, and taking a hot bath.
- Create a healthy sleep environment. Where you sleep can influence how well you sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, comfortable, and quiet. It should be make you feel relaxed and help you focus on sleep, not pain. Choosing the right mattress can alleviate back pain in particular. Keep your bedroom dark at night by using a dimmer switch or turning off overhead lights, and you can use blackout curtains to avoid letting light from outdoors disrupt your sleep. Keep your bedroom around 67 degrees so you can sleep comfortably, and use a fan to distribute air throughout the room. If noise is a problem keeping you up at night, consider sleeping with ear plugs, or simply use a white noise machine or powerful fan at night.