How to Get the Sleep You Need continued...
Gentle massage is also beneficial for both insomnia and chronic pain. In a study published in the InternationalJournal of Neuroscience, participants who had two 30-minute massages a week for five weeks experienced better sleep and less lower back pain.
Exercise the right way.
Regular exercise can improve both pain and sleep issues, Falco says. However, activity within three hours of bedtime can keep you up, so the earlier in the day you work out, the better. For pain, the best exercise is moderate and low-impact. Try walking, yoga, or swimming.
Additional tips for improving sleep include:
- Forgo daytime naps or limit yourself to a brief 10- to 20-minute nap in the afternoon.
- Take a warm bath or shower before bed to wind down.
- Lull yourself to sleep with relaxation CDs that play a babbling brook, gentle waves, or other soothing sounds.
- Remove all light-producing appliances from your bedroom, including the TV; if you must have them, choose ones that emit red rather than blue light.
- Abstain from alcohol in the evening; it may help you fall asleep, but the effects of a cocktail quickly backfire, disrupting sleep cycles a few hours into the night.
- Run a fan or other non-specific white noise machine in your bedroom to dampen street or other sounds.
- Avoid caffeine, which disrupts sleep patterns; if you must have a caffeine boost, enjoy it before noon.
- Do not exercise or eat within three hours of going to bed.
If pain is preventing you from getting a good night sleep, it’s time to see a doctor.
There are a number of treatments available, including medication, physical therapy, and talk therapy. Consider tracking your sleep habits in a sleep journal. This simple tool can give your doctor valuable information about your quality of sleep and how many hours you log each night.