5 Little-Known Tips for Sleeping With Chronic Pain

This is no small matter, as a lack of sleep can make your chronic pain worse—which may lead to a frustrating cycle of sleeplessness and intensifying pain. Here are 5 little-known tips that may help you break this cycle:

1. Only go to bed if you’re feeling sleepy

Simply put, you cannot will yourself to sleep. In fact, focusing on falling asleep often makes matters worse—as you typically end up stressing over the fact that you can’t fall asleep.

So then, don’t fret if you aren’t feeling sleepy come bed time—simply engage in a soothing activity. For example, try knitting or reading a book until you feel tired.

Additionally, make sure to leave your bed if you can’t fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes of lying down.

2. Cool down your room

There is no one temperature that works best for every person, but, as a general rule, you will sleep better in a cool environment. Over the course of a week, try various temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees until you find the one that works best for you.

3. Work up a sweat

It seems counterintuitive, but exercise is typically better for your chronic pain than long-term bedrest. For example, a regular program of low-impact aerobic exercise, stretching, and strengthening promotes your body’s natural healing process.

Additionally, exercise can help you feel better both physically and mentally by spurring the release of endorphins.

As a bonus, exercise can make it easier to fall asleep at night—but it’s best to avoid rigorous exercise 4 to 6 hours before your bedtime.