Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Sleep is nature’s physician; it’s the body’s opportunity to use all of its resources to undo the damage of the day before. During sleep, immune, nervous, skeletal and muscular symptoms all experience rejuvenation. Wounds also have been shown to heal faster during sleep.
On the flip side, people who sleep poorly or are deprived of sleep can experience a myriad of adverse effects, including cognitive impairment, memory lapses, impaired immune systems, aches and pains and even an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.
Back pain caused by arthritis of the spine, ruptured discs, facet disease and other spinal injuries can often cause insomnia, or may keep you from sleeping well or long enough. This can lead to a cycle in which, because the body isn’t getting enough sleep, the spinal conditions fail to heal and may be more painful; in turn, the increased and prolonged pain continues to keep the patient from sleeping. This cycle can be difficult to break, but it’s not impossible. This article will give you some possible strategies for getting a good night’s rest despite painful back conditions.
Tips for better sleep
If you struggle to fall asleep at night, or if your sleep just isn’t as restful as it should be, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you have adequate room in your bed. If your bed is too small, cramped conditions may contribute to restlessness.
- Make sure you have a mattress that offers the comfort and support you need.
- Control environmental factors as much as possible. Temperature, noise level and light level all contribute to how well we sleep. Experiment until you find the environment that allows you to sleep best.
- Develop a bedtime routine. Doing the same things in the same order every night before hitting the sack can help your mind and body prepare to relax and go to sleep.
- Use relaxation techniques while waiting to fall asleep. Breathe deeply and evenly. Make a conscious effort to release tension from your muscles on every exhale. You can even try imagining relaxing activities and places as you let go of the day’s stressful situations.
- Stick to the same sleep schedule as much as possible. Our bodies have a very strong internal clock mechanism. Once you manage to set your body’s natural sleep and wake cycles, sleeping through the night likely will get easier.
If sleeplessness persists or begins to seriously impair your ability to function while awake, see your physician immediately. There are a number of medical reasons for sleeplessness, such as sleep apnea, that should be ruled out or treated if they are present.
If bone spurs, degenerative disc disease, foraminal stenosis, or any other spinal conditions are keeping you awake at night, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how our minimally invasive outpatient procedures can help you find relief from neck and back pain and reclaim your life.