A study published in The Journal of Neuroscience in 2019 suggests that sleep deprivation is linked to lower pain tolerance and enhanced responsiveness to pain. Unfortunately, insomnia is also a common side effect of chronic pain, which can create a torturous cycle of worsening pain and increasingly poor sleep.
At Jersey Premier Pain, we understand the crippling day-to-day health impacts caused by patterns of persistent pain and deteriorating sleep quality. However, we also know that achieving adequate sleep can be an effective way to manage the effects of chronic pain. In this blog post, we discuss three tips that may prove useful if you experience sleep disturbances as a result of recurring or long-lasting pain.
#1 – Develop a Consistent Sleep-Wake Routine
It can be difficult to maintain a regular bedtime and wake up at the same hour every morning, but a consistent sleep-wake routine can help your body get used to falling asleep more regularly and readily. Start by choosing a bedtime and wake-up hour that give you enough time to get the rest you need on both weekdays and weekends.
Many people prefer to ease into new sleep patterns gradually, making 15- or 30-minute adjustments to their schedules every few days. It may also be useful to develop a calming bedtime routine to give your body cues that it’s time to sleep.
#2 – Avoid Naps and Stay Active During the Day
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may be tempted to nap during the day, especially during flare-ups or periods of poor sleep. However, excessive napping can easily disrupt your sleep routine. Do your best to limit your naps to 30 minutes. If you nap any later than the early afternoon, you may have trouble falling asleep later.
Committing to physical activity during the day can help, too, as long as you finish your workout at least a few hours before bedtime. Even gentle physical activity like taking a brief walk in the sunshine can improve your sleep as well as your physical fitness.
#3 – Limit Caffeine, Liquids, and Artificial Light Before Bed
The caffeine in a cup of coffee or mug of tea can provide the perk you need to start your day, but too much caffeine may have negative impacts on your sleep routine. Caffeine can linger in your system for hours, so it’s best to avoid sources of caffeine in the afternoon or evening. Depending on how sensitive to caffeine you are, even small amounts later in the day could disrupt your efforts to fall asleep at night.
On the other end of the spectrum, alcohol may make you feel temporarily sleepy but can cause problems with reaching the deep, restful sleep you need. Drinking alcohol before bed can make you more likely to awaken or experience low-quality sleep during the night. Avoid alcohol consumption in the afternoon and evening to promote better-quality sleep.
Finally, sources of artificial light such as cell phones, tablets, and e-readers can prevent your body from recognizing that it’s time to sleep. Light exposure is an important part of your circadian rhythms, so avoiding bright or artificial lights before bed can help your body synchronize its internal clock with the environment.
Contact Jersey Premier Pain for Help with Chronic Pain
If you suffer from chronic pain caused by an injury or medical condition, the dedicated team at Jersey Premier Pain can help. We have the resources needed to identify the source of your pain and develop an effective plan to improve your quality of life. Call us today at 201-386-8800 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with our attentive staff.