Waking with Aches and Pains? What to Do for Better Sleep
If you have difficulty falling and staying asleep due to chronic aches and pains, you’re not alone. Many people struggle to control the chronic pain that can limits activity and interrupts sleep. With a focus on better rest and natural pain treatment, you can get the relief you need to enjoy a full, active life.
The Relationship Between Sleep and Chronic Pain
Sleep and pain have a cyclical relationship—sleeplessness increases pain perception, and chronic pain can interfere with your ability to sleep. Studies have shown that increasing sleep time lowers pain perception and sensitivity while increasing tolerance by as much as 25 percent. A study published in Sleep also found that cutting sleep in half significantly reduced pain tolerance in study participants. The conclusion seems to be that rest is a powerful ally in keeping pain at bay.
While pain may be interfering with your ability to sleep, so too can bad habits. The human body controls the sleep-wake cycle using regular biological processes that repeat every 24 hours. These processes rely on many things such as natural light exposure and meal timing, which help to time the release of sleep hormones. To support and strengthen your body’s response to these cycles try:
Avoiding Screen Time Close to Bed: Some electronic devices give off a bright blue light that can suppress sleep hormones. While some screens have a low light setting intended for nighttime use, others should be turned off two to three hours before bed to prevent sleep problems.
Stopping Stimulants Early in the Day: The caffeine found in soda, coffee, and energy drinks temporarily blocks sleep hormones. Most people need at least four hours for the stimulants to work their way out of the body.
Keeping a Consistent Sleep Schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even weekends, allows your body to adjust to your schedule and properly time the release of sleep hormones.
Reducing Nighttime Distractions and Discomfort: Everything from your mattress to your curtains could get in the way of good sleep. An old, lumpy mattress could contribute to your nighttime discomfort and wakefulness. Try to find one that supports your preferred sleep position, height, and weight. Mattress reviews can be helpful. You can also create ideal sleep conditions in your bedroom by keeping the room cool between 60 to 68 degrees and blocking out as much light as possible.
Manage Pain Throughout the Day
Daytime pain relief can come in many different forms. Good pain management takes consistency and may require some trial and error to find options that address your specific pain issues. A few options include:
An Appointment with a Chiropractor: Chiropractors treat many different kinds of pain—shoulder, back, neck, muscle. Practitioners look for points on the body that may be out of balance, using spinal manipulation and other natural techniques to restore health.
Hot/Cold Therapy: Cold reduces swelling while heat relaxes muscles and increases blood flow. Depending on your pain, you can use hot/cold therapy to control pain during the day and before bed.
Massage Therapy: Muscle stimulation and manipulation can help remove lactic acid build-up and improve blood flow. Massage can also be used to relieve tension and stress held in the muscle.
With a focus on better sleep and consistent pain management, you can reduce morning aches and pains so you can lead an active life.