People suffering from nerve damage often note that their pain worsens at night, making sleeping difficult. Unfortunately, this lack of sleep can also make chronic pain worse. Over time, this vicious cycle can increase neuropathy symptoms. So, why does it adversely affect sleep patterns, and what can you do to catch some Zs? Here are some tips for better, more restorative sleep.
Why Is It Worse At Night?
There are several contributing factors to nighttime neuropathy pain.
- Focus: There aren’t as many distractions as you lay in the dark. Your brain may focus on the pain more.
- Position: Your body changes position, altering pressure points and causing your spine to shift. The new position may put more pressure on a nerve.
- Temperature: Your body changes temperature during your sleep cycle. The temperature fluctuation can cause a burning sensation in your nerves.
- Medication: Some medications make sleep more difficult
- Routine: Circadian rhythms can change if you don’t have a regular sleep routine.
What Can I Do To Sleep Better?
Luckily, you don’t have to lie awake at night watching the clock and wishing your feet would stop hurting. You can take steps to get more restful and restorative sleep.
Environment: Your bedroom should be a peaceful place. Clutter or chaos can ramp up stress levels, raise blood pressure, and increase pain.
- Keep the room dark so your body knows it’s time to sleep.
- Some prefer silence, while others sleep better with white noise or soft music. Find what works for you and be consistent.
- Most people sleep better in a slightly cool room. Keep temperatures in your bedroom between 64 and 68 degrees when you sleep.
- Use a mattress designed to support you comfortably. If you have back-related nerve pain, back support is essential to prevent too much shifting in the spine and uncomfortable pressure points. If you are hypersensitive to pressure, you may need a softer surface.
Routine: Keep to the same sleep schedule every night so your body knows when to get sleepy.
- Avoid anything caffeinated after noon each day.
- Create a routine that involves activities like reading for 20 minutes or stretching before bed. Your body will associate bedtime with this routine and slow down.
- Avoid all electronic screens for an hour before bed.
- Avoid heavy meals and alcohol for two to three hours before bed.
- Try tea with relaxing properties such as lavender, valerian root, or chamomile before bed.
- A warm (not hot) bath before bed may relax nerves sufficiently to offer relief.
- Use relaxation techniques before bed to return your body to homeostasis (lower stress hormones and calm nerves.)
Lifestyle: Proper health lessens neuropathy symptoms.
- Eat a balanced diabetic or low-inflammation diet, depending on your needs. Excess blood sugar, processed foods, red meat, and chemical sweeteners can inflame damaged nerves.
- Stop Smoking. It restricts blood vessels and starves nerves of nutrients and oxygen, creating or worsening nerve pain.
- Take supplements designed to improve nerve function and regeneration.
- Use gentle aerobic exercise daily to increase blood flow to nerves, reduce swelling in the legs and feet, and increase neurotransmitters that act like natural painkillers.
- Listen to your body and know when you’ve reached your limit. Too much heat, activity, or prolonged sitting can cause flare-ups.
- If spine compression is causing nerve pain, a skilled chiropractor can be a great resource. They can evaluate your condition and help relieve the spinal compression, reducing or relieving your nerve pain.
Position: Sometimes, changing your sleep position can alleviate pain.
- Extend the spine to decompress vertebrae and open up the space around nerves.
- Try sleeping in a recliner if lying flat causes pain, muscle cramping, or spasms.
- Sleep on your back with pillows under your legs to flatten the arch in your back.
- Lay on your side with a pillow between your thighs to improve alignment.
Medical Intervention: Talk to your doctor about treatment alternatives. With neuropathy, seeking help sooner is always better than later. Some nerve damage is reversible if treated quickly. Even if the damage is permanent, there are solutions to manage your symptoms.
Doctors who specialize in peripheral neuropathy may recommend chiropractic neuropathy treatment that will stimulate nerves, improve blood flow and oxygenation, reduce inflammation, and reduce compression. Don’t resolve yourself to live with the pain and discomfort of peripheral neuropathy. Many individuals have found relief from their debilitating neuropathy symptoms. You can too.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to texts, graphics, images, and other material contained in this article, are for informational purposes only. None of the material mentioned is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment before undertaking a new care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.