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5 Little-Known Tips for Sleeping with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can make sleeping difficult. And, unfortunately, sleep disorders can aggravate chronic pain. If it sounds like a vicious cycle, it is, and if it’s something you live with, you know firsthand. According to the National Sleep Foundation, only 37% of Americans with chronic pain report sleeping well.

The interventional pain management experts at Valley Pain Centers understand the importance of good sleep when you’re dealing with chronic pain. In this blog, they discuss five little-known ways you may be able to help yourself get the rest you need.

1. Consistent routine

If you have few patterns in your life, the one place you may benefit from having one is in the bedroom. Following a consistent routine each night, including the same bedtime, can help you reinforce your natural circadian rhythms. Repeating a pattern triggers physiological responses that prepare your body for its sleep state. Adding meditation or relaxation techniques, such as controlled breathing exercises, can also encourage pro-sleep responses.

2. Single-purpose bedroom

Building a consistent sleep routine may take time. You can help encourage a regular sleep cycle by changing your attitude about your bedroom. If possible, use it only for sleep and sex. Banish electronics, such as smartphones and televisions, and find another place to read or do puzzles. If you can’t get to sleep in less than 20 minutes, get up and go to another room, returning only when you’re tired and ready to sleep. If you associate your bedroom with sleep, simply being there may help encourage restfulness.

3. Dietary additions

The hormone that helps regulate your sleep pattern, called serotonin, uses a protein called tryptophan during its production. Some foods can boost the production of tryptophan. Cherries and kiwis are two fruits that can help increase the production of tryptophan, as can whole foods, such as fatty fish ― trout and salmon ― shellfish, milk, and beans. Carbohydrates ― such as rice with a high glycemic index ― may also help, but be sure these don’t aggravate other health conditions, such as diabetes.

4. Dietary subtractions

Food components can also interfere with sleep. Caffeine is perhaps the best known. Its energy boost hits almost immediately, but the sleep-interruption properties could last long after you’ve forgotten your last sip. Limit consumption of coffee, tea, and chocolate to the morning hours and see if your sleep schedule improves.

5. Return-to-sleep strategy

Getting to sleep is half the battle, but you also need a strategy to get back to sleep if pain wakes you up at night. Use a controlled breathing exercise immediately upon waking to counter the pain and stress that could otherwise build. The breathing exercise you use could even be the same breathing exercise you use to help prepare for sleep.

At Valley Pain Centers, with three convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix, Peoria, and Scottsdale, you are never a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. When it comes to chronic pain, we have several experienced physicians who can help you, including Toure Knighton, MD, Dinesh Chinthagada, MD, Jin Yuk, MD, Patricia Henthorn, DC, and Jon Tanner, DC. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.

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