Sleeping with Chronic Pain

Sleep is such a wonderful thing. I mean really, who doesn’t love sleep? Unfortunately, sleep is something that we take for granted…until it eludes us. Having lived with arthritis for 15 years, I’ve had my fair share, and my sister’s share, of sleepless nights for various reasons.


Usually, my insomnia comes from not being to turn my brain off or shooting pains from my arthritis or simply not being able to get comfortable. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few things really help me to relax, mentally and physically.

Warm shower (or bath).

There is something relaxing about standing in a warm shower while the water and steam relieve all the aches and pains from a long day.  I also like to do some stretches in the shower to work out the kinks from a busy day.

Heat.

Nothing sooths my sore joints like sitting in bed with my heating pad or electric blanket. For me, heat works better than ice on my swollen joints. If I’ve had a particularly rough day, I spend about 30 minutes snuggled up, relaxing. I especially love this one during the cold, winter nights.

Warm drink.

I love having some hot cocoa before bed. I’m learning to like tea and just starting to get into it but something about a warm drink and a good book that is very relaxing. Mint cocoa is my favorite, for those of you wondering.

Medication.

If I’ve had a rough day physically, I will take an Aleve, or a prescription medication if needed, before going to bed, even if I’m not hurting at that moment. I know that as soon as I stop moving, my joints will start to seize up and stiffen. I try to be proactive with my pain management as much as possible. By taking an Aleve before bed, it allows the medication to work while I’m sleeping, making me less stiff in the mornings.

No electronics.

I try to stop using my phone or watching TV about an hour before I want to go to sleep. I used to be obsessed with checking social media right up until I went to bed. I was the queen of “one more scroll”. By putting my phone away an hour before bed, I’m able to relax more and let my body have some quiet time.

Read a book.

Reading is very calming for me. Getting lost in another world, in character’s problems, allows me to shut my brain off and forget about my own crazy life for a little while. I’m currently reading “The Fault in Our Stars”. I’m a little late on the bandwagon but so far I’m really liking it.

Make the bed.

For years, I never made my bed. I always felt like it was a waste of time when I was just going to mess it up again. However, making the bed before I get into makes a world of difference. I love a freshly made bed. I mean really, is there anything more relaxing and comforting that freshly tucked sheets?

These are my tips to getting a good nights sleep with chronic pain. Let me know your tips for relaxing and falling asleep at night in the comments. Sleep tight!

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