How Can I Improve My Sleep?
It is very common for people with pain to have sleep problems. Some have difficulty falling asleep while others wake up often in the night or too early in the morning and cannot go back to sleep. Here are some pointers for if you are having trouble sleeping.
Try rebuilding your environment. Get a few extra pillows if you have back pain. A pillow between your knees often helps when lying on your side with legs bent. Is your mattress the right one for you? Is there too much light or noise around you? It is possible to purchase earplugs or have them specially made by an audiologist, such as modified musician’s earplugs.
Exercise during the day can help ensure that you are physically tired by the time you’re ready to sleep. People with pain sometimes find that they are less active during the day because their pain keeps them in bed or sitting down. A regular exercise habit can help, but try to avoid exercise within two hours of bedtime.
Bad habits stick. You can find it difficult to sleep if your bedroom is associated with working, worrying, watching television, dozing during the day, and not sleeping. Usually, your bedroom should be reserved only for sleeping and sexual activity. If you can’t sleep, get up and leave your bedroom so that you don’t associate your bed with tossing and turning.
A regular, scheduled time for bed, and a set routine for preparing for bed can set the stage for better sleep. However, only go to bed when you are sleepy. Don’t try to go to bed just because it is the usual hour or your partner is tired. Wait until your eyelids start to droop or you have wound down.
Avoid caffeine from cola, coffee, tea, or other beverages in the afternoon and evening.
Try listening to soothing music, meditating, or doing gentle deep breathing.
When you are lying down your pillow should not be under your shoulders. Your pillow should be thick enough to allow your head to remain in line with your body; therefore if you are on your side, the pillow needs to be almost double to keep your head in line with your body. Do not prop yourself up to read in bed and do not watch TV in bed to relax. This leaves you in a bad position for your neck.
Discuss your new sleep routine with your family or partner, so that they understand that you are trying to make new habits.