Does sleep seem to be illusive for you as you struggle with pain? Can’t find a comfortable position? The chronic ache won’t let you relax? The throbbing stab yells at you for all your attention? You toss and turn in vain to find a position where you are out of pain?
I know it all. I spend too much time awake when I should be sleeping. There are a lot of us out there, insomniacs for one reason or another. This article hopes to address some suggestions for how to sleep in pain.
Sleep, What is It?
Sleep? Have you ever thought about what it is? According to Merriam-Webster dictionary it is “the natural, easily reversible periodic state of many living things that is marked by the absence of wakefulness and by the loss of consciousness of one’s surroundings, is accompanied by a typical body posture (such as lying down with the eyes closed), the occurrence of dreaming, and changes in brain activity and physiological functioning, is made up of cycles of non-REM sleep and REM sleep, and is usually considered essential to the restoration and recovery of vital bodily and mental functions”. Note the emphasis on being essential to restoration and recovery of the mind and body. Which tells me that if you aren’t getting the required sleep you need, that you are not functioning at your best.
There are many external factors that affect our sleep, such as work (including shift work which is a challenge in itself), food and environment. But there are internal ones as well, including stress levels and pain. I am presenting this post mostly for those of us who are in pain, because that pain can impact our sleep. And lack of good sleep impacts our pain. It can be a vicious cycle. If you want a more detailed discussion of external factors affecting sleep, see this Harvard Education link. But read on even if you aren’t in pain. Hopefully this post will lead you to better sleep.
Here’s a statistic reported by The National Sleep Foundation. “Sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.” I’ve seen a report that states one in four people have chronic pain. So there are many of us that don’t sleep well.
I started this post ten days ago. I thought it would be an easy project. Then that night I was in the hospital emergency room. I was admitted to the hospital. I spent four days there. And upon release, I was completely wiped out. This hospitalization had nothing to do with my pain issue. I am thankful for the wonderful staff that took care of me, especially the nurses. And I am thankful to learn there is something I can do to avoid this problem in the future. Having started this website because of pain issues has taught me to be proactive in my care, to listen to my body and to search for solutions. So, I applied these criteria to this new illness. But for five days I didn’t feel well enough to work on this post. Then I got to thinking, I should write a little about the experience in hopes it will help me get back on the saddle and help someone else if they are going through a rough time.
How about you? You want a better life? What can you do to feel better? I hope you have read my other articles. They are all aimed at providing information to help you find some pain relief. I’d be so happy to know that something I have written here on this website has helped someone.
First, Some Advice
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I am very proactive about my health. I do all the things we are supposed to do to be healthy. I watch what I eat, I exercise, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I get plenty of rest, I get enough water by tracking my amounts. So you can see my philosophy is to take care of myself. I don’t expect others to do for me what I won’t do for myself. In fact one of the in home nurses that is coming told me today that she has patients that lie to her and won’t do what they are supposed to do to take care of themselves. Don’t be that person! You won’t get better or feel better if you don’t take responsiblity for your health. So just do it! Following are some suggestions that have been helpful to me, and I hope will be helpful to you.
Don’t go it alone
If you have family or friends to care for you, you are truly fortunate. If someone offers to do something for you, let them. It is very fulfilling to provide help to others, so let them help you. Just be sure to be grateful. Even if you can do most of your care alone, if you are alone, you need to keep in contact with others. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, community is vital. We are social creatures created to have communion with others.
Get plenty of rest
This is tough for me. I just realized something new about myself; that I don’t like to be non-productive. But that has to be balanced with getting rest. I am listening to my body and having it dictate my efforts. This also means I don’t push myself like I did before. This is your body, and you are responsible for taking care of it. This has to be balanced with people coming to visit thought. So although it is good to have people around, listen to your body if you are tired.
Do some stretches
My inactivity in the hospital caused my buttock pain to flare up. Just today was I able to do some stretches. I know more than ever the benefits from moving, stretching and exercising. At this point I am just stretching, but the others will come as I feel stronger. I have had to modify my stretches because I can’t bear weight on one arm. But I can still do something. A good start would be the CD I recommend in this post.
Now My Original Purpose in Writing This Post.
This post discusses some product recommendations that I have either tried or reviewed. Sometimes, when you are hurting all you want is a little comfort. Maybe one or two of these products can help you with that. They may help you toward a better quality of life.
A heating pad can provide some warmth and comfort as well as easy the pain of sore and achy muscles. My nerve pain also causes other pain in surrounding areas and a warm pad can help. It is not only physically comforting to me, but a warm source just comforts me emotionally. I feel like it’s the closest thing to a hug! ?
Or try this one. Doesn’t that look lovely? Wrap your back in a warm hug. It has 4 stars and is currently listed for $19.99 on Amazon.
Maybe cold is what you need. Cold is for recent injuries, or to reduce swelling. It also reduces pain for a time.
It’s called FlexiKold Gel Ice Pack. It has an 81% 5 star review. It curently sells for $14.99. It comes in various sizes and with or without straps.
Maybe a New Bed?
Here is a more expensive item, but one I recommend. In this post, Take Action to Relieve Pain Naturally, I talk about the need for a good mattress. This made a huge difference for me. According to the reviews this mattress has a 4 star rating, and people with back issues recommend it. It is cheaper than the one I bought about 3 years ago. I still recommend the one I mention in the earlier post, but this is a good option if you don’t live in my area.
Tuft & Needle Queen Mattress, Bed in a Box, T&N Adaptive Foam, Sleeps Cooler with More Pressure Relief & Support Than Memory Foam, Certi-PUR & Oeko-Tex 100 Certified, 10-Year Warranty.
These items are ones that I have tried and found to be helpful. Did one of these products help you? I would love to hear your comments or questions.
Be advised that should you purchase a product through any of these links, I will be paid a small fee for directing you to them. Thanks in advance.