Insomnia and chronic pain are the worst combination. Whether it is due to arthritis, headaches, or a bad back, chronic pain increases fatigue along with robbing you of adequate sleep. As a result, your body becomes even more pain sensitive. However, it is possible to break from the vicious cycle.
1. Eat foods that promote sleep
Eating particular foods in the evening may help boost tryptophan levels in the body. It is a kind of protein which aids the production of serotonin, a sleep-regulating hormone. Increased levels of tryptophan also help decrease how much time you take to fall asleep, thereby promoting restful sleep and improving alertness when you wake up.
Some examples of sleep-promoting foods include:
- Fruits, like kiwis and cherries
- Whole foods, like fatty fish, shellfish, pulses, and milk
- High-glycemic Carbohydrates, like rice.
When you decide to make changes to your diet, consult a doctor to make sure that your new diet does not have an adverse effect on any of your medications or a medical condition that you might have.
Also, abstain from drinks and foods that may impact your sleep negatively, such as chocolates, tea, and coffee. These foods have theobromine and caffeine, stimulants that disrupt sleep.
2. Give yoga a try
The mind-body therapy utilizes rhythmic breathing, meditation, and physical poses which can help improve sleep and relieve back pain. It is recommended to consult a professional instructor to practice yoga.
They can tailor the routine depending on your personal needs and tolerance level. After you have learned the specific poses, you may practice them regularly in the comfort of your home. If a certain pose causes discomfort or pain, inform your instructor.
3. Evening walks
If you have a 9 to 5 office job, minimal daily mobility, and suffer from insomnia at night, a slow walk in the evening can help get rid of any pain as well as promote restful sleep. Walking increases the body temperature.
When the temperature starts to drop because of the body’s heat dissipation mechanisms (like increase in blood flow), the lower temperature of the body that results from this can help trigger the sleep cycle.
Daily walks can also help reduce anxiety, thereby promoting sleep. Incorporating a walk in your routine can also help reduce chronic back pain as it will strengthen your abdominal and back muscles, and increase lower back flexibility.
4. Take deep breaths to fall asleep
Slow breathing has a calming effect on the body. It can help reduce stress and pain, thereby promoting sleep. According to research, taking deep and slow breaths before bedtime makes you sleep faster, as well as go back to sleep more easily if you get disturbed in the middle of the night.
This breathing technique can also help synchronize your breathing pattern and heart rate, which may promote restorative sleep.
5. Take sleeping aids
There are various sleep-enhancing preparations that you can get over-the-counter. You can get some in the form of tea bags that you can brew, and some as capsules or tablets that you can take orally.