By Jackie Waters
For many sufferers of chronic pain, it’s possible that some basic lifestyle changes can have a noticeable impact on their daily lives. Some with chronic pain must seek out medical treatment, as medicine and therapy are vital to helping people cope with their symptoms, but medicine can’t do it alone. If you want to truly minimize your chronic pain, you must make some simple (but fundamental) lifestyle changes that promote overall wellness.
Focus on your sleep
Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality will, without a doubt, exacerbate your chronic pain symptoms. When you have sleep issues, both your mind and body are unable to recover from fatigue. This leads to more frequent, more intense flare-ups of your pain symptoms.
The problem with sleep is that lack of sleep is not just a cause of chronic pain, but it’s also a symptom. This effectively means that you can’t sleep because you’re in pain and you’re in pain because you can’t sleep. It’s a vicious cycle. Truly focusing on getting good sleep can make a difference. In fact, just being motivated to work on better sleep can help.
“Americans who said they were very or extremely motivated to get enough sleep reported sleeping 36 more minutes per night across the week compared with others (7.3 vs. 6.7 hours). Even among those with pain, a higher motivation to get sleep was associated with longer sleep durations and better sleep quality. That’s a striking metric, indicating as many as 4.2 hours more sleep per week in motivated individuals,” reports the Sleep Foundation.
One way to promote better sleep is to set and keep a strict sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at different times every day is unhealthy and can prevent restful sleep. Also, you should designate your bedroom as a sleeping place only. Don’t watch TV in there, don’t do laundry, and don’t check your emails. Train your brain to know that when you lie down in bed, it’s time to sleep and sleep only.
Avoid foods that trigger you