One of the number one complaints from people living with neuropathy is heightened nerve pain during the night. Restless, seemingly endless nights of little to no sleep not only disrupt your life but increase your nerve pain over all.
Living with chronic nerve pain, it’s important to understand why your pain is worse at night and how you can help it.
In a previous blog post, we discussed some of the common reasons why nerve pain takes a stronger hold after the sun goes down. First, you have fewer distractions — no meetings, phone calls, events or errands to fill your brain. Second, the temperatures are cooler, causing less blood flow in your body and hindered circulation to the areas where your nerves are most sensitive, such as hands and feet. Finally, emotional and physical stress on the body can cause additional pain — such as stress from previous exercise, a hard day at work or on-going family issues.
When these issues affect your sleep, it’s an endless cycle of sleep deprivation and a lower pain threshold. Neuropathic pain can feel excruciating to your raw nerves, especially when you’re tired.
Here are some tips on how to get a good night’s rest to stop the cycle of pain and sleeplessness:
Empower your body’s natural sleep cycle
Our bodies crave rest, and that rest is especially important if you’re living with chronic pain. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up around the same time — this will help your body to become consistent with a rest schedule, allowing your body to fall asleep easier and become adequately rested each night. Creating patterns around the time you go to bed can also help your sleep cycle, such as reading from a book or taking a warm shower/bath to relax your muscles and soothe your nerves. Avoid caffeine four to six hours before bed, and minimize it daily to allow your body time to become tired. Less caffeine will help with overstimulated nerves that can intensify nightly pain. Turn off electronic devices such as your smartphone and TV an hour or more before bed to help your brain wind down.
Create the right sleeping environment
It can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room you’re in isn’t conducive to rest and relaxation. Cut out light and noise by adding black-out curtains to your room, shutting your door and turning off electronic appliances. Keep your room well-ventilated by opening a window or having a small fan. Make sure that your pillows and mattress are comfortable and don’t leave you with added pain or stiffness throughout the night or in the morning. Moving bedsheets and blankets so they’re not touching your legs and feet can also help with intensified nerve pain.
Adequate rest is so important and can help with chronic nerve pain. Make sleep as easy for yourself as possible.
Want more helpful tips on living with peripheral, diabetic or chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy? Visit our blog to learn more.