You know what it’s like. It’s 3.00am and you’ve just woken up. Again. You glance at your clock and do the maths – only 4 hours until it’s time to get up. This is really taking a toll on you – your mood, your performance at work, and your pain levels.
So what can you do?
- Avoid using technology in bed. The blue light from laptops, tablets and smartphones suppresses the hormone melatonin, which makes us sleepy at night. So be sure to stop screen use at least one hour before bed.
- Get out of bed. Don’t lie in bed tossing and turning. Have a warm drink (e.g. milk, no caffeine), do some gentle stretches or breathing exercises and go back to bed when you feel more comfortable.
- Develop a sleep routine. There’s a reason we do this with babies and small children – it works! As often as possible, go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Your body will become used to this routine and you’ll find it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Don’t look at the clock. Constantly checking the time can make you anxious, which makes it hard to sleep. Try removing your clock from the bedside, or cover it up at night.
- Try some relaxation techniques. There are as many ways to relax as there are stars in the night sky (well, almost) so there’s bound to be something that suits you. Consider trying mindfulness, visualisation, deep breathing or a warm bath before bed. These techniques will help you become more relaxed and may help you manage your pain better so that when you go to sleep, you sleep well.
- Be active during the day. As well as the many other benefits of regular exercise, it’ll help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
- Seek help. If pain is constantly keeping you awake at night, talk with your doctor about other things you can do to manage your pain and get some decent sleep.
And check out our A-Z guide to managing pain. It’s full of tips and strategies to help you manage your pain.