Can’t Sleep? 18 Ways to Get Some Sleep Despite Chronic Pain
Desperately Seeking Snoozin’? If so you are one of the millions of people are on the internet in the middle of the night who have a chronic illness and cannot sleep. We need to get some sleep! Find out 18 ways to adjust your habits so you aren’t up with insomnia in the kitchen eating cookies.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 60% of Americans are getting less than eight hours sleep. Millions of these people live with a chronic condition that causes chronic pain and it’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of those with chronic pain suffer from a sleep disorder.
Stop accepting, “I can’t sleep!” and move the odds in your favor!
 Have a bed-time ritual. They aren’t just for kids! Anxiety about going to bed can set the stage for a sleepless night. Whether it’s a hot shower or a cup of tea, training your mind to know “it’s almost time to go to sleep” can help dramatically.
 Avoid getting on the computer for at least 1 hour before going to sleep. The light, interaction with others, and activity will keep your brain stimulated. Same with the T.V. Record the shows that are on after 10 pm to watch another time.
 Avoid caffeine, spicy foods, alcohol and nicotine.
 Despite what your mom told you, wear a fresh pair of socks! According to Nicholas Romansky, a podiatrist that treats the U.S. World Cup and Olympic soccer teams, wearing fresh socks to bed can help stabilize your core body temperature. He suggests acrylic, polyester, polypropylene and cotton-synthetic blends that will keep moisture at bay. Don’t use cotton socks.
 Listen to some music. Not only will it relax you, but research that studied drug-free methods to reduce postoperative pain, found that the combination of relaxation and music relieved postoperative abdominal pain significantly more than painkillers. (Source: The Journal of Advanced Nursing, 2005)
 Is your bed partner keeping you awake with snoring or late-night work on the computer in bed? Have a conversation about changes that need to be made, even separate rooms for awhile is okay.
 Use lavender in your bed-time rituals. According to studies at the University of Leicester in England and the Smell and Taste Research Center in Chicago, the aroma of lavender actually worked as well as sleeping pills in alleviating insomnia and tension. Try a linen spray for your sheets, lavender-scented bath oil, or a lavender-filled eye cover.
 Jasmine aroma has also been found to help sleep according to researchers who found that rooms infused with a faint jasmine scent seemed to sleep more peacefully and reported being more alert in the afternoon than people who slept in a lavender-scented room, or one with no added aroma. Scented oil sticks can be found at stores everywhere now, and they keep the room smelling fresh for up to six months with no fire hazards.
 When do you sleep best? Near the ocean? When it rains? Places like Sharper Image have many sleep aids such as a portable AM/FM radio/alarm clock that features a Sound Soother® and a dual-speaker stereo CD player. It includes “realistic, tranquil sound environments Seaside, Summer Night, Rain, and Brook.”
 Invest in a comfortable mattress and extra bedding if needed. Personally, I use a Cuddle-Ewe and couldn’t live without it. It feels like a feather bed on top of my mattress.
 Find pillows that are comfortable. I have one for my head, a different one for my arms that feel like they are filled with sand. One woman I spoke to uses a teddy bear to cushion her sore arm, wrapping the bear’s arms around her own arm.
 Use a heating pad or a heated blanket. Try sleeping on top of a heated blanket for all over comfort. There are new ones on the market that are very padded.
 Wear comfortable clothing to bed. Invest in a pair of pajamas that you love, can turn over easily in bed, and that you will long to put on.
 Try the heat or menthol patches available at your local drugstore for pain relief in particular areas. I’ve found the menthol ones help me sleep because of the scent and are less bulky so stick longer.
 Although there is much controversy on the use of magnets for pain relief, some people swear they work. Start with an inexpensive item before investing in a large magnetic mattress. Google “insomnia home remedies” for a ton of other ideas.
 Have something relaxing to read or listen to once you get into bed. If you have an MP3 player, take advantage of downloading some relaxing music, inspirational talks or sermons.
 If all else fails, get up. If you positively can’t sleep, change your surroundings. Read a book on the couch or write a letter to a friend. Soon you may be drifting off.
 Talk to your doctor about medications. Even if something helps you sleep for five years, it can suddenly become less effective. Find the right recipe for pain relief and sleep aids. Google “When Aches & Pains Keep You Awake: Medication Chart” available at WebMD for a good breakdown of the benefits and side-effects of common sleep prescription medications.
If you have a chronic illness and chronic pain is keeping you awake at night, do everything you can to find a way to sleep because insomnia always impacts our bodies, oftentimes causing our illness to become worse. Don’t hesitate to contact your doctor to find a remedy.
Do you have a chronic illness? Find other articles all related to chronic illness and information on National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week at http://www.illnessarticles.com .Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries which serves the chronically ill through Christian resources and other programs and support group materials http://www.restministries.org.