No matter if you are recovering from an injury or illness or suffering from chronic pain, pain often seems to get worse at night. You may wake up feeling better, and when bedtime rolls around, you feel not only worn out but achy and painful. Researchers have even given this a name, “painsomnia.” We decided to take a look into why you may be feeling painsomnia, and what you can do about it.
Your Mind Is Less Distracted at Night
The mind plays a significant role in the perception of pain. During the day, you are usually focusing on work, school, or hobbies. At night, when these distractions have receded, you’re lying in the dark with nothing else to think about. It’s easy to focus only on your pain. This can make it difficult to ignore the pain and cause additional stress that keeps you from sleeping.
External Factors May Create Additional Pain
However, your pain isn’t only in your mind. There are real factors at night that can cause you to feel more pain. For instance, cold temperatures can make your joints achier. Also, things such as dust can make respiratory conditions, and issues such as sleep apnea worse. As you rest, your breathing cadence becomes slower, which increases the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. The increased CO2 dilates your blood vessels, making your nerve endings more sensitive.
Slower Circulation in the Body
During the day when you are moving around, your body circulates fluids. At night, when you are lying down, and generally less mobile, these fluids circulate throughout the body less, which can cause swelling and additional joint pain. This can cause stress, and when your immune system responds, the symptoms can be aggravated.
How to Help Reduce or Relieve Your Pain at Night
There are a few things you can do to relieve your pain and get a better night’s sleep, including improving your sleep hygiene, getting more exercise, and more. Check out the list below to see which works best for you.
1. Practice Sleep Hygiene
If you have chronic pain or not, good sleep hygiene is the key to a restful night. Make it a habit to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Getting up early has many advantages, including promoting a better sleep cycle. Turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes or more before going to bed. Don’t exercise or eat about 1-2 hours before bed. And keep your bedroom dark and comfortable, so that other environmental factors won’t disturb your sleep. Try these bedroom hacks to help you sleep better.
2. Movement Is Essential
Although we recommend that you don’t exercise within an hour before bedtime, daily exercise can help you get a good night’s sleep. In addition, depending on your condition, exercise, and movement can help your pain. Check with your physician to discuss what activities are safe for your condition.
3. Meditation and Deep Breathing
4. Cold and Heat Therapy
Cold and heat therapy can help relieve minor pains, as well as help you relax and unwind enough to sleep. Try taking a warm bath, use a heating pad, or ice any swollen or achy areas.
5. Try Herbal Remedies
There are several pain-relieving herbs and spices you can try to ease inflammation and arthritis pain. Some of these herbs interact with medications you may be taking, so be sure to check with your doctor before you try any of them.
A Note from GR8NESS
Of course, you should follow whatever treatment plan your physician has given you. However, these ideas may help reduce pain and sleep better at night. If “painsomnia” lasts for more than a few weeks, discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Keep track of the severity of your pain at night and how it is affecting your sleep. This will help your physician determine the best medications and pain management strategy for you.