There’s little doubt that pain can negatively impact sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, only 45 percent of people with acute pain report “good” or “very good” sleep quality and the number decreases to 37 percent for those with chronic pain. Additionally, pain is a major factor in how much sleep Americans say they need versus how much they are actually getting. Chronic pain sufferers report an average 42 minute sleep debt – also known as the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep – while there’s no overall sleep debt for those without pain (though a significant number of people in this group do have problems with sleep, but not enough to cause a sleep debt). If you suffer from chronic pain, and are looking for ways to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, here are a few tips:
- Engage in light exercise daily. We know that exercising with pain can be tough, but light exercise can help tire your body and muscles to better prepare for sleep. Low-aerobic exercises as simple as yoga, stretching, walking or swimming can help tire your body and relax your mind. Just be sure to exercise at your own pace and be mindful of what your body is telling so you don’t overdo it.
- Bring Oska Pulse to bed with you to supplement your pain relief while you sleep. Now with 90-minute pain relief PEMF sessions, it’s easier than ever to use Oska Pulse overnight to relieve your pain – and you don’t even need to wear it. Simply place the device near the source of your pain, like your back or knee, in your bed and turn the device on. It will run for 90-minutes and then turn off automatically. If for some reason you wake up during the night, maybe for a glass of water, turn it back on!
- Make sure you have the right mattress and pillows. For people with pain, mattresses and pillows can make or break a night’s sleep. While this choice can be very personal, firmer mattresses and pillows tend to be better for pain because it provides more support for the body. This is especially true for people with back pain. Make sure your pillows align your neck and shoulders and firmly support your spine as well. If you sleep on your side, try using body support pillows to take the pressure off your lower back or shoulders.
- Stay on a regular sleep schedule as much as possible. Keeping a consistent sleep schedule, where you go to bed every night and wake up every morning at the same time, can help train your brain to be ready for sleep on that schedule in the future. It sets an internal clock and enhances the body’s natural sleep drive. While it can be difficult to stick to a schedule, especially at the beginning, keep on trying and do your best! You may find it becomes easier along the way as your body gets into a rhythm.
- Limit outside stimuli and other factors that may impact your sleep. Devices like TVs, computers and smartphones – with artificial light – can negatively affect sleep as non-natural forms of light can confuse the brain into thinking its daytime and keep you awake. They are also distracting, may keep your mind entertained and disrupt natural sleep patterns. To help your brain start to wind down, limit or shut off technology one hour before bed, says The National Sleep Foundation. Other stimuli include foods and beverages with caffeine, like tea, coffee, soda, chocolate and more. It is also best to keep caffeine consumption to a minimum, even in the morning, as caffeine can build up in the body and still affect your sleep at night. Limiting liquids in general before bed can also help, as this will keep you from having to get up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, disrupting your sleep cycle.
While everyone in pain – and sleep – is different, these tips may help you get a better night’s sleep and we encourage you to experiment with them to find the solutions that work best for you.