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How to Improve Your Sleep Quality Despite a Chronic Pain

Truth be told, pain can be very uncomfortable and is a leading cause of insomnia and sleeplessness among many individuals. In fact, it is a key factor why millions of Americans suffer from poor sleep quality every night.

A Sleep survey in AmericaTM poll that was done in 2015 showed that 21% of Americans suffer from chronic pain. If chronic pain is experienced every night, it becomes a vicious cycle. Luckily, it is possible to break the cycle of chronic pain and insomnia. Below are some useful tips to help you have quality sleep despite suffering from chronic pain.

1. Establish Good Sleep Hygiene

If you are experiencing chronic pain, it is helpful to do healthy habits that will lower sleep problems. For instance, create a regular sleep schedule so that you won’t struggle with sleeping at a normal time. Following a specific routine like falling asleep at the same time every night can help enhance your sleeping experience even when you are in pain. You should also buy a good mattress,which is designed for people having chronic back pain.

Also, try to wake up at the same time every morning regardless of the number of hours you had the previous night. Basically, your sleep schedule should pretty much remain the same each night. It may also be helpful to establish a sleep ritual like meditating, reading a book, or taking a warm shower just before bedtime. Ensure that the activities you do during this time are quiet and relaxing.

2. Exercise Regularly

Doing some low-impact exercises before bedtime has been found to help enhance sleep quality, particularly for people with insomnia. Regular exercise helps the body both physically and mentally by releasing endorphin hormones. Keeping active not only helps alleviate physical pain but also combats anxiety and stress which may be the cause of sleeplessness.

In fact, regular exercise may help reduce chronic pain like fibromyalgia. A low-impact aerobic exercise that involves stretching and strengthening can also help promote the natural healing process of the body.

3. Try Relaxation Techniques

There are various relaxation techniques that you can do to help you fall asleep faster. In order for the body to fall asleep, you need to do non-stimulating activities that will help your nervous system calm down quickly. For instance, you can try relaxing distractions like rhythmic breathing meditation and deep abdominal breathing.

You can also take your mind in guided imagery where you see yourself in a calm and peaceful environment. These relaxation techniques will distract your mind from the worry of not being able to sleep because of the pain. Ensure to practice the relaxation techniques on a regular basis so as to help you drop off to sleep without much difficulty.

4. Take Pain Medications

If you are unable to fall asleep because of pain, taking pain killers can be of great help. Pain medications are great for short-term use and can be used to restore your sleeping habits.

However, you should first consult with your physician before taking pain medications in order to ensure that they fit well into your treatment plan. Also, talk to your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications as some like cortisone can contribute to insomnia.

5. Journal Your Concerns

Take some time before bedtime to write down your concerns and worries that result in sleeplessness. Expressive writing has been found to calm down the nervous system since you are able to break down all racing thoughts. After completing this exercise, put the paper or tear it down. After that, get to sleep and remind yourself that you can deal with the concerns tomorrow.

6. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you have tried these techniques and found that they proved difficult to implement, resolve to seek professional help. Psychologists or therapists can help you better manage your sleep issues and deal with the impact of your pain. Cognitive-behavioral therapy comprises a number of strategies that are designed to help patients combat negative thoughts that keep them awake. A therapist can use cognitive behavioral therapy to determine the underlying anxiety and mood issues that can affect your well-being.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is very helpful and can be used to address issues such as chronic pain, depression and sleep disorder. For instance, having anxiety about sleep and the pain is likely to contribute to insomnia.

Do extensive research to identify the right cognitive behavioral therapist that will help you reset your sleeping patterns. You can also go through the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists to narrow your search for a CBT therapist.


Although pain is known to worsen sleep patterns, patients can still have a full night’s sleep and wake up feeling much better. One approach for breaking this vicious cycle is establishing a sleeping routine and adhering to various sleep hygiene. Hopefully, these tips will help you get a sound sleep tonight.

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