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    8 Ways to Reduce Pain and Improve Sleep



    You are tired and want to fall asleep in the soft, soothing arms of your bed. It’s not easy if you’re one of the 58% of adults who have experienced any type of pain in the last three months according to the National Center for Health Statistics. If the pain is severe, it can lead to a lack of restorative sleep. W. Christopher Winter MD, President of Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine in Virginia, states that dysfunctional sleep can lead to high blood pressure, heart problems, and cognitive problems.

    Sleep Deficit Affects Pain Perception

    Equally important for people who suffer from chronic pain, lack of sleep can make perception of pain more intense, according to a study published in June 2019 in the medical journal Neuropsychopharmacology. According to another article published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, poor sleep can lead to increased pain intensity, fatigue and depression as well as difficulty in daily living for people with rheumatoid (RA).

    How can you get some z when pain is your constant companion.

    Talk to your doctor about sleep problems

    If you haven’t done so already, seek a complete assessment from your healthcare provider, including a pain management specialist, or physiatrist if they are available in your area. Because the cause of your pain can vary depending on how it is treated, it is crucial to identify the source. Physical therapy may be recommended by your doctor. Locate a specialist by contacting your primary care physician or online using the U.S. News & World Reports locator tool.

    Here are eight ways to improve your sleep if you have chronic pain.

    1. How do you sleep? How do you sleep?

    Your body should be in the neutralst possible position. I don’t recommend anyone sleeping on their stomachs as it can cause neck and shoulder problems. Side lying on your back or on your stomach can help with lower back pain and hip pain. Alexander Garreau (DPT), a physical therapist at Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, suggests that you bend your knees and place a pillow between them. Side lying requires that your hips align with your body and not rotate.

    2. How is your bed made? If necessary, adjust the mattress

    Are your pressure points being triggered by your mattress? Use pillows to support your back, get your feet up, or slip between your knees. A full-body pillow can be helpful. An adjustable bed can be purchased if you wish to achieve a comfortable sleeping position.

    Houman Danesh MD, director for integrative pain management at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said that mattresses should be replaced every 7-10 years. Many people sleep on mattresses between 20 and 30 years old. They don’t support your neck or back when you sleep,” he said. According to Dr. Danesh, then pain can make it difficult to sleep which causes more sleep disturbances and “a terrible cycle”.

    3. Are you using a good pillow? It’s crucial to use a head cushion

    Your pillow should support your head so that your neck is in neutral position. Danesh says that your neck should be parallel to your chest.

    4. Are You Ready for Comfortable Sleep? Use heat or cold packs to relieve pain points before you go to sleep

    You can also take a hot or cold shower. It is up to you which temperature you prefer. You can reduce swelling and inflammation that causes pain by applying icing or warming. You can apply the cream for about 15 minutes. Make sure to check your skin regularly to ensure it isn’t being damaged by extreme temperatures. Do not fall asleep with a cold or hot pack.

    5. You can assess your mindset by practicing Mindfulness, Tai Chi, Gentle Yoga, and Meditation.

    Pain can also have a psychosocial component. Stress and anxiety can increase your pain threshold. It will take less time to trigger those same sensors,” Dr. Garreau says.

    The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences published research that found stress can increase pain perception. A study published in Pain Reports in August 2019 found that mind-calming exercises can be helpful in managing pain.

    Danesh says that these practices can open up your breathing. Deep breathing is a common habit when you’re in pain. “This can lead to more pain by increasing lactic acid buildup in your muscles. This can be eliminated by deep breathing techniques.

    Dr. Winter, the author of The Sleep Solution, says, “There’s a lot of fear when it comes down to pain.” Mind-body work can help reduce the fear that may lead to pain.

    6. Keep it regular: Follow a sleep schedule

    When you’re in pain, your instinct might be to nap and sleep a lot to escape. Your body can only take so much sleep. You can only get so much sleep that you end up with a broken cycle that is neither productive nor restorative. You should go to bed and get up at the same hour every day, even on weekends. Danesh says that if you feel the need to take a few short naps before 2 p.m., or 3 p.m., Danesh recommends it.

    7. Take Care of Your Medicines

    You should be aware that pain medication can cause you to fall asleep or stay asleep. Discuss the pros and cons with your doctor. Pain medications can sometimes be a minefield. They can make it difficult to sleep, but you don’t have to use them all the time. While some may make you feel groggy, you won’t be able to sleep because sedation is not the same as sleep. They can also interfere with breathing. They are not always the best option. Winter warns that if you decide to try them, you should consult your doctor right away if you have any side effects.

    8. Do not forget the best practices: Use these Sleep Hygiene Guidelines

    You can also benefit from the same steps that make it easy for pain-free sleep. Danesh suggests:

    • Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine late in the evening.
    • Don’t eat large dinners.
    • Avoid using your phone, TV, computer, or other screens for more than a few hours before bedtime. Blue light can disrupt sleep.
    • Sleep in a cool, quiet room.
    • Do not exercise too hard right before bed. Instead, do gentle stretching.
    • Bright natural light should be available during the day. Sunlight can help you fall asleep by resetting your circadian rhythm.


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