Chronic pain and poor sleep often go together. Lack of sleep leads to fatigue, irritability, stress, and tension, which make it harder to cope with pain. If depression accompanies the painful condition, it can also interfere with sleep. The most common sleep disturbance associated with depression is a tendency to awaken very early and be unable to fall back asleep. Sleep disturbances can also develop from strategies used to cope with pain, such as resting in bed too much, sleeping late, or napping throughout the day to make up for sleepless nights.
Suggested ways to improve sleep
Set your bedroom aside as a special place that your mind will associate with sleep:
- Do activities like watching TV or studying in a different room.
- Think of ways to make your bedroom a peaceful place.
Consider changing eating habits that may interfere with sleep:
- Eat larger meals earlier in the day and reduce or avoid caffeine in coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks, or tea, especially within a few hours of bedtime.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol, especially within a few hours of bedtime. Alcohol can interfere with getting a deep, restful sleep and with the ability to stay asleep.
Slow down before you lie down:
- Take a warm bath or shower prior to going to bed.
- Perform peaceful, pre-bedtime rituals or engage in calming activities, such as reading or listening to relaxing music.
- Avoid exercising within a few hours of bedtime.
- Try to get appropriate exposure to natural light during the day (especially in the morning) to reset your internal clock for sleep and wakefulness.