If you suffer from back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. It keeps you from doing things during the day, and it often interferes with your sleep at night. Your body needs rest, especially if you’re recovering from an injury or surgery, but back pain tends to make it hard to get the rest you need. To restore that balance, try these strategies to ease pain and calm your mind for a better night’s sleep.
Better Sleep Starts During the Day
This doesn’t mean you sleep better by napping, although a power nap can be a good thing for some people. It means that you have a much better chance of sleeping well when you take care of your back during the daytime. You shouldn’t avoid activity entirely, but it’s important to be careful about the types of activities you do.
Everyday chores around the home, like cleaning, mowing, and landscaping, can be especially hard on your back. If you don’t have someone who can help, consider hiring outside help on occasion. It won’t cost much and will save you discomfort. For example, most homeowners in Louisville only spend an average of $119 - $231 to have the interior of their home cleaned. Besides getting help with those everyday tasks, stop and think twice before taking on bigger projects or overdoing it with exercise. You don’t want to risk putting a strain on your back that will keep you up at night.
While avoiding activities that worsen back pain, focus your energy on how you can ease pain throughout the day. Can you do light exercise like yoga or Tai Chi? Have you tried massage therapy to relieve tension in back muscles? Or anti-inflammatory foods or supplements? These all natural ways to reduce pain can make a difference throughout the day and help you sleep better.
Relax Your Mind and Muscles at Night
For anyone who struggles with insomnia, one of the top tips for sleeping better is to calm your mind at night. If you worry about pain, the struggle of getting to sleep, or anything else that’s on your mind, start by finding a practice that helps you turn off that chatter in your head. The blog No Sleepless Nights recommends several relaxation techniques, such as guided meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or deep breathing. Try a couple of these to see what works best for you. Besides getting worrying thoughts out of your head, relaxing your mind before bed also takes your focus off of pain.
When you have back pain, you want to take relaxation a step further and also make sure muscles are relaxed before bed. One of the best ways to do this is by stretching to release the muscle tension that aggravates back pain. Try these stretches for your neck, shoulders, and lower back.
Discover Tricks to Stay Asleep
For someone with back pain, the struggle isn’t just in getting to sleep but also staying asleep. Pain may wake you up, and even when something else wakes you up, pain can make it harder to get back to sleep. To start with, take a look at your sleeping position and whether it may be contributing to the problem. According to Prevention, the two best sleeping positions for people with back pain are (1.) sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, or (2.) sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees.
Along with addressing your sleep position to reduce pain, consider whether other factors like light may be waking you up. If you have a digital device that lights up or dings, don’t bring it to bed! Besides the sound, the blue light from tech devices is especially disruptive to sleep.
Don’t discount these little things that wake you up at night. Each of these may seem insignificant, but when combined they make a big difference. Even if these tips don’t eliminate back pain altogether, they can help you unwind and get the rest you need.
This blog was guest written by Cheryl Conklin.