A lot of people look forward to sleep as a way to restore their bodies and feel recovered in the morning. But those of us with chronic pain may come to despise our beds as a torture chamber. We wake up more stiff and sore than when we lay down. To help others dealing with discomfort, here are two tips to sleep better with less pain.
First off, you should know that a recent study showed that sleeping less increases sensitivity to pain. In other words, if you’re not getting enough rest, you’ll more likely to feel worse and be more sensitive to both chronic and acute soreness.
Obviously, taking a painkiller before bed may solve the problem, at least for one night. But for long-term improvement of your overall health, you’ll need to make a couple of changes.
The least expensive step is to invest in a new pillow. Chances are your old one isn’t doing a good enough job.
Consider how you normally sleep. Do you lay on your side, your back, your stomach, or some combination of these positions?
For instance, the best pillows for side sleepers offer medium to firm support to keep your cervical spine aligned and reduce pressure on your shoulders. They reduce the chance of a rotator cuff injury simply from sleeping on the same side for too long.
But if you tend to roll onto your back, it’s better to have a pillow that’s either softer or has less loft. Try a pillow made for combination sleepers.
Better yet, are you aware that there are pillows designed specifically to alleviate neck pain or shoulder pain? Some double as sleep aids to avoid reflux during the night.
Then, our second tip is to consider a new mattress. Although this is a more expensive purchase, it pays off in more restful sleep. To illustrate, take a look at the best mattresses for side sleepers. They cushion pressure points like your shoulders and hips but keep your spine aligned. They also dampen motion transfer so that sleeping with a partner is more pleasant.