Better Sleep for Better Pain Management
A good night's sleep can be one of the best pain management techniques available to you. Some studies have shown that sleeping extra may reduce your pain by as much as 25%. But falling asleep isn't always easy, especially if you are struggling with pain management. These techniques will help you develop positive sleeping habits and wake up feeling well rested each morning.
Stick to a Schedule
Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can make it easier for you to fall asleep each night. If you go to bed at the same time each day, you will naturally start to be tired around that time. Sleeping outside of this schedule can disrupt your cycle and cause you to feel awake at bedtime. If you have a hard time falling asleep, try avoiding taking naps or sleeping in late in the morning. Instead, choose a time to go to bed and a time to wake up that fits well with your schedule, and try to stick to it. Make sure you sleep for at least eight hours every night.
Reduce Light Before Bed
Bright light suppresses the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you fall asleep. Computers, phones, tablets, and other electronics all produce bright light and can disrupt your cycle. Stop using electronics a few hours before bed, and consider dimming the lights in your home during this time.
Mentally Wind Down
Breathing exercises and stress relief techniques can help you relax before bed. Spend several moments breathing deeply, meditating, or repeating positive affirmations to yourself. You can also try writing in a journal, performing very gentle yoga exercises, or listening to calming music. Give yourself plenty of time for your body and mind to relax.
Watch What You Eat
Alcohol, heavy foods, and caffeinated beverages can all prevent you from sleeping. Try to have dinner a few hours before bed. After this time, avoid eating anything that might disrupt your schedule. If a bedtime snack helps you fall asleep, try something that contains both protein and carbohydrates, but which does not contain caffeine or an excess amount of sugar. A glass of milk is a classic and effective example.
Consistent exercise will increase your general health and make it easier to fall asleep each night. Exercising too close to bed may make it difficult to fall asleep, so try to schedule your workout for earlier in the day. Check with your physical therapist for an exercise routine that fits your current needs. Gentler exercise can also help you sleep better.