Morning is the time when you should feel the most refreshed and ready for the day. However, far too many people wake up stiff, sore, and achy even after a full seven to nine hours of sleep. Managing and reducing pain can help you feel more like yourself. Everything from chiropractic treatments and hot/cold therapy to a supportive mattress and sleep environment can reduce aches and pains so you can feel your best in the morning.
Pain and Sleep: An Interconnected Relationship
The relationship between pain and sleep can sometimes be cyclical. Chronic back, shoulder, or neck pain can often keep you from getting the rest you need. At the same time, lack of sleep can increase your sensitivity to pain. When your sleep time gets cut in half, down to four hours rather than the usual of eight, pain perception can increase by as much as 25 percent. Research has also shown that extending the sleep period to up to 10 hours (up from the average seven to nine) reduces pain perception.
But, how do you get the sleep you need to reduce pain when pain could be causing the sleeplessness?
Pain Management and Intervention
There many effective ways to naturally manage and reduce pain. Depending on the source and location, you may need to consult a professional before trying a few different techniques or methods to find something that works for you.
- Chiropractic Treatments: Chiropractors look at the body as a whole to find points of imbalance that could be causing muscle or joint pain. Some types of pain can be managed through spinal readjustments and similar techniques.
- Neurokinetic Therapy: This type of therapy helps reduce pain by improving the connection between your brain and neurological muscular signals. How you move, how the pain feels, and where it’s located identify ways to release tension from your muscles.
- Hot/Cold Treatments: Simple yet effective, treatment with a hot or cold pack gives you a way to reduce pain without leaving the comfort of your own home. An ice pack numbs pain and reduces swelling while heat brings blood to an injured area and is a natural muscle relaxer. Using this method before bed can help both your mind and body relax so you can get better rest.
The Importance of Your Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment can not only affect your pain but your ability to fall and stay asleep. Start by taking a look at your bedroom setup. Is it contributing to or helping your pain? Your preferred sleep position, height, and weight can all make a difference in your comfort at night. For example, side sleepers need a softer mattress that fits the contours of their body versus a stomach sleeper who’ll need firmer support to prevent an arch in the back.
If you’re unsure of the type of mattress you need, mattresses with medium-firm support provide a balance between support and cushioning. Medium-firm mattresses have also been shown to be more comfortable for those with back pain. Your position on the bed may also affect your pain levels. Consider an adjustable bed if your pain is relieved by having your head or feet elevated during the night.
The conditions in your bedroom can also have an impact on your ability to sleep. Most people sleep comfortably between 60 to 68 degrees, which helps the body maintain a lower temperature it needs for the onset of sleep. Also, try to block out as much light and sound as possible to reduce distractions and support your body’s sleep-wake cycle.
With the right environment and good pain management, you’ll be able to wake up refreshed and ready to live your life.