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5 Little-Known Tips for Sleeping With Chronic Pain

Sleep problems and chronic pain seem to often go together. It’s a vicious cycle: The more poorly you sleep, the more pain you feel, which in turn, often makes it more difficult to fall asleep the next night. If you have conditions like complex regional pain syndrome, this may be a cycle that you know very well.

Good sleep is restorative and can go a long way toward making it easier to cope with chronic pain. But your sleep is up to more than chance, and you don’t have to rely upon sleeping pills to get a good night’s rest. The caring physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center have collected these five little-known tips for sleeping with chronic pain.

1. Take an evening walk

Especially if you work in an office and suffer from chronic lower back pain, taking an evening walk may provide some relief. Walking is especially beneficial because it’s low-impact but it also slightly raises your core body temperature. In response, your core has to cool back down, which signals to your body that it’s time to sleep.

2. Eat sleep-promoting foods

The quality of your diet matters a great deal in how well you can sleep. Consuming certain foods later in the day can help promote sleep, especially foods that are high in an amino acid called tryptophan. These foods include carbohydrates like rice, cherries, kiwifruit, milk, and fish.

In addition, limit caffeine, especially later in the day. Although you may feel like you need caffeine to compensate for poor sleep, there is some science to suggest that caffeine may lower your pain threshold and make you feel more pain.

3. Try a relaxing distraction

One of the most frustrating experiences can be feeling extremely tired but being unable to fall asleep. In this situation, try a relaxing distraction to help you fall asleep. You may find it helpful to listen to a guided meditation or a calming story. Let the sounds of your relaxing distraction simply wash over you and lull you to a more relaxed state.

4. Take up the gentle practice of yoga

Exercise may sound difficult when you’re living with chronic pain, but yoga is a gentle and relaxing practice. This mind-body exercise — which includes gentle poses, rhythmic breathing, and mindfulness — has many tremendous benefits.

5. Practice good sleep hygiene

Good sleep hygiene refers to your habits surrounding sleep. It’s recommended to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even if you don’t feel well-rested. You can always take a nap later if you need it.

Keep your room dark, and make sure the temperature is cool. In addition, avoid using electronic screens that emit blue light — including your smartphone — for a couple of hours before going to bed.

If you have chronic pain and are having difficulty with sleeping, reach out to the providers at Glaser Pain Relief Center today for more help. Call the office in Encino, California, or request an appointment online.

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