Painsomnia is a term to describe sleeplessness resulting from pain.
While some people struggle to fall asleep because they don’t feel tired, others experience significant pain associated with conditions like arthritis that either stops them from falling asleep or frequently wakes them up.
There may be many reasons why some people experience worse arthritis-related pain at night. Cortisol, your anti-inflammatory hormone, is naturally lower at night.
You may also have fewer things to distract you at night, or you may notice that staying in one position causes joint stiffness, followed by pain.
Dealing with a lack of sleep, you may start to find it challenging to control your pain levels during the day. If you’re experiencing this very problem, some of these tips below may prove helpful.
Even though arthritis can mean you experience joint-related pain, that doesn’t mean exercise is off the table.
In fact, your doctor may recommend a number of activities to keep you healthy and improve your chances of a peaceful night’s sleep.
Water exercises, low-impact aerobics, strength training, and even tai chi might be recommendations from your doctor to assist with health and wellbeing.
Explore Hot & Cold Therapy
When pain is preventing you from falling asleep, it’s worth focusing on those joints to see if you can ease some of your discomfort to help you fall asleep.
You may experience some relief with ice on swollen joints. Some people also feel relaxed and more comfortable when they warm their bedding or use wheat bags over their sore areas.
Some safety measures with these methods can be crucial, however. The last thing you want is to be falling asleep with parts of your body experiencing extreme heat or cold that could lead to injury or further discomfort.
Improve Your Sleep Routine
If you’re not taking steps to help yourself drift off to sleep with ease, then now might be the time to start – particularly if you’re struggling.
Get out of bed at the same time each morning, and go to bed at about the same time each night. Refrain from eating within the few hours before bedtime, and limit your screen time.
Make sure you set your bedroom up as a place for rest, so remove TVs, invest in blackout curtains, and prioritize temperature regulation.
Try Herbal Remedies
With your doctor’s blessing, explore the many different herbal remedies that promote rest and relaxation. Lavender, herbal teas, and melatonin may all be good options that your doctor approves of.
Even though there is a lack of sound evidence, your doctor may also approve of you trying different natural herbs and plants like aloe vera, cat’s claw, and eucalyptus. Some small trials have put these herbs and plants in the spotlight as potentially beneficial for osteoarthritis pain, inflammation, and general arthritis pain.
While you may not see relief with these options, you may consider trying them when you’re already fighting a losing battle against sleep.
Explore Meditation Techniques
Many studies have shown that meditation may be able to improve your sleep and even fight insomnia.
As a result, there’s every reason to believe that it may also be able to help with arthritis-related sleep struggles. There are many different options you can try, such as guided meditation audio, visualization exercises, and deep breathing exercises.
Even going back to basics, watching sheep jump over a fence and counting as they go, could be how you drift off to sleep – and stay asleep.
Invest In A Comfortable Bed
Even though your significant other may sleep soundly on your mattress, it might not be the right one for you.
Most doctors recommend sleeping on a soft bed for joint pain rather than one that’s too firm. It’s also essential to find out what works for you, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing comfort when you have arthritis.
Some people find it helpful to use weighted blankets, or they support their joints with throw pillows. Others prefer light blankets to lessen the pressure on their sore joints.
Calm Yourself Before Bed
While meditation can assist with helping you fall asleep, you may also see the value in calming yourself down before you go to bed. For example, rather than watching an action or horror film, settle into a chair with a book.
You may even like to rest with warm milk or a mug of herbal tea without any devices so that you can head to bed with as little stimulation as possible. Finding what calms you down can be a process of trial and error.
Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Experts believe that pain can be partly psychological. If you can train your brain how to respond to it appropriately, you may be able to control it enough to fall asleep without too many problems.
Cognitive behavioral therapy with a licensed and experienced therapist may be how you start to get on top of your pain – both during the day and at night.
Therapists can also assist with managing any depressive symptoms you’re experiencing that could be contributing to your sleep loss.
Discuss Options With Your Doctor
Sometimes, the best way to combat your painsomnia is by making an appointment with your doctor.
You can talk about your symptoms, put your pain on a scale, and see if medication adjustments or alternatives may be available to improve your comfort levels.
Medications should always be reviewed when they don’t appear to be working for your needs. Fortunately, there is more than one medication combination available, and your doctor may have plenty of ideas up their sleeves.