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If aches and pains are keeping you up at night, they’re causing more harm than you may know. Not only can chronic pain be a sign of a more serious underlying issue, but sleep deprivation is itself dangerous to your mental and physical health. In fact, recent studies have shown that lack of sleep can negatively impact how well brain cells function, making them sluggish the next day and altering your own visual perception, memory, and cognition.
If you’re looking for nighttime relief for common aches and pains, don’t miss these quick tips:
If you spend a good chunk of your day on your feet, it might not be until you get off of them in bed that you realize how fatigued and achy they are. And for people who suffer from conditions like peripheral neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, or Morton’s neuroma, burning sensations, heel pain, tingling, numbness, and cramps in the feet when you lie down can make it incredibly hard to get some shut-eye.
One of the top tips for achieving better pain-free sleep no matter your source of foot pain is to wear proper fitting shoes during the day. Avoid heels and snug shoes that can disrupt good body mechanics while you walk and lead to tissue inflammation.
Take vitamin supplements like magnesium to prevent muscle cramps and B-12 to help combat nerve pain. And for plantar fasciitis sufferers, try foot splints which can be worn comfortably while sleeping to stabilize and support painful arches. A gentle foot massage may also aid sleep by boosting blood flow, loosening stiff joints, and relieving tense muscles.
Back and Neck Pain
Did you know that a common source of back and neck pain is actually poor sleeping postures? Both the type of pillow you use as well as the way you sleep all affect your spine alignment and the amount of rest your muscles get.
If you are a side sleeper and use a pillow that is too thick (or if you are using two pillows stacked atop each other), for example, you might actually end up sleeping with your neck tilted sideways at an upward angle. This prolonged strain can lead to painful muscle tension and inflammation the next day. People who sleep on their stomach, on the other hand, compress their lower back muscles since the pelvis is pushed unnaturally backward when they sleep and this leads to lower back pain.
Sleeping flat on your back is the best way to give your spine the support and alignment it needs, however, if this is uncomfortable, try putting a pillow under your knees to slightly lift the pelvis and alleviate some of the lower back pressure. If you are an avid side sleeper, make sure to use a pillow that is flat enough to keep your neck in neutral position, and even try sleeping with a pillow placed between your knees for added support.
Any chronic pain that affects your ability to get sound sleep is worth addressing with your doctor. If your own attempts at remedying it at home don’t work, start a dialogue with your medical provider today.