Develop healthy sleep habits and find resources for better sleep.

It is common for people with pain to have sleep problems. It’s important to address any sleep issues you may experience with your doctor.

Healthy sleep habits

  • Get up at the same time every morning. This helps regulate your body’s clock.
  • Exercise but not close to bedtime. Exercise can help regulate your body and make you physically tired by the time you’re ready to sleep.
  • Avoid naps in the afternoon. Napping can take away from your nighttime sleep. If you need to nap keep it less than 30 minutes and before 2pm.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco in the evening. These can delay or disrupt your sleep.
  • Evaluate your room. Make sure your environment is comfortable, quiet and dark. Install blackout curtains and use a quiet fan to block outside noise. Use a few extra pillows and place one between your knees when lying on your side with leg bent.
  • Wind down. Your body needs to time to switch into sleep mode so consider doing a calming activity such as reading, listening to soothing music or meditating. Avoid using electronic devices such has laptops or mobile phones because the light from the screen activates the brain.

Note: A serious issue is sleep apnea, a condition where you periodically stop breathing in your sleep, which results in poor quality of sleep and can cause drowsiness in the daytime. Take the Stop Bang questionnaire to determine if you might be at risk and speak to your primary health care provider for treatment options. Stop Bang Link: Stop Bang screening

Resources

Guided meditation and relaxation for better sleep

Try these resources to help with sleep:

    Apps:

    • Insight Timer - This app features guided meditations, music and talks for stress, sleep, and anxiety. (iOS, Android)
    • Headspace - Guide to everyday mindfulness. Hundreds of guided meditations to help with various areas such as sleep, productivity and exercise. First 10 sessions are free. (iOS, Android)

Sleep diary

Use a sleep diary to document your sleep patterns so you and your health care provider can determine the problem. Sleep diary - Kelty's Key

Sleep clinics

Sleep labs investigate, diagnose and treat sleep disorders. Sleep studies are conducted to monitor your brain waves, movements, heart and other levels while you sleep.

If you are still having difficulties with sleep despite using the healthy sleep habits resources, please speak with your doctor or nurse practitioner for alternative options. Sleep is important to your overall health and pain.