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Living with chronic pain is at the same time a blessing and a curse – or so I have come to find.
It teaches you how to focus better, it is amazing at showing you what the actual priorities in life are, and it has an uncanny way of revealing who your real friends are.
Yet one of the challenges it comes with is sleeping well – falling asleep, staying asleep and actually resting while you sleep can all be increasingly challenging with chronic pain.
Here are a few tips that can help you recharge despite the pain:
Only go to bed when you are sleepy
We are often told to go to bed at around the same time every night. And while this is an excellent suggestion, I’d advise against going to bed at the same time even if you are not tired.
Going to be when you are not ready to fall asleep will only have you tossing and turning and waking yourself up even further. You can prevent that by going to bed when your energy levels are lower, and when you do feel like sleeping.
Have a bedtime routine
Our mind responds well to routines, which is why doing the same thing every night before going to bed can be an excellent signal to your body and mind to start preparing for sleep.
Establish a routine that works with your lifestyle, and make sure you do it every night, in the same order, without fail. Anything from taking a warm shower, brushing your teeth, doing an evening skincare routine, to reading a book can be a good choice.
Just make sure there are no screens and loud noises involved.
Focus on something else
This is a technique often suggested to anyone who has trouble sleeping: pick something relaxing and mundane enough to help you fall asleep.
While you don’t actually need to be counting sheep, this tactic can work well, especially if you exercise it enough. You can try a guided meditation when you go to bed, you can try breathing exercises, turn on soothing sleep sounds, and so on.
I personally find that the voices of Stephen Fry and Hugh Fraser can send me off to sleep in under ten minutes – but it comes with the downside of feeling drowsy whenever I watch a program with either of them starring.
Invest in your bed
The bed you sleep in and the mattress you sleep on play a huge role in the quality of your sleep. If they are lumpy, bumpy and uncomfortable, they won’t be doing your mind or body any favors.
A good mattress, like a queen size memory foam mattress that is both large enough and comfy enough to help you rest better, should be your top investment. After all, there is no sleep technique in the world that will help you overcome the challenges of a poor mattress.
Get up no matter what
As you need to establish a nightly routine, you need one in the morning as well.
This should start with getting up at the same time each day, no matter how you have slept the night before (and even if you haven’t). Don’t make a difference between weekends and weekdays either – if you sleep in on Sunday, you will have a much more difficult time to get up on Monday.
The longer you work on this habit, the better you will train yourself to fall asleep on time, and get up with less difficulty in the morning.
Not getting enough sleep when suffering from chronic pain can make everything seem that much worse. And while it’s true that some of these tips will make things even harder before they make them better, do give them a try and see how they work for you. We all have very different sleeping habits and sleeping patterns, but we all respond the same to the same routines and stimuli, so stick to it, don’t give up when it gets tough, and work your way up to a restful, uninterrupted night of sleep.
This list is just a rough guide, and nothing in this review should be taken as medical advice. Always be sure to check with your doctor before you start on any new treatment or protocol.
Read More: How Much Time Are You Wasting On Sleep?
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