Peripheral Neuropathy Sufferers: Tips For Better Sleep

People living with the chronic pain of peripheral neuropathy (PN) can have difficulty enjoying seven to nine hours of restful slumber each night.

Physical discomfort, worry, depression, activity limitations, and medication side effects prevent about 70 percent of chronic pain sufferers from getting adequate sleep, according to the Journal of Pain Medicine.

If the distress of PN is interfering with your nightly siesta, speak with your doctor. He or she may suggest a prescription change or recommend an additional medication that helps you doze off.

Other than medication adjustments, the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy offers those with PN several other tips for getting more shuteye. By practicing these techniques persistently, your hours of rejuvenating sleep should improve within two to three weeks.

12 Tips For Better Sleep

  1. Don’t smoke. Limit or omit alcoholic beverages, and reduce caffeine consumption—particularly in the afternoon and evening.
  2. Afternoon naps should never be more than one hour, less is preferable.
  3. Maintain a regular exercise routine, and complete it several hours before bedtime.
  4. Maintain a regular sleep schedule: turn-in at night, and rise in the morning, at the same times each day.
  5. Avoid hot showers or baths just prior to turning in; the body needs to chill a bit before drifting into deep slumber.
  6. Sleep on a comfortable, supportive bed topped with comfy, supportive pillows in a slightly cool (about 65 degrees F), well ventilated, dark-as-possible bedroom.
  7. Keep the TV and computer turned off. Better yet, do not have them in the bedroom. Both gadgets may stimulate instead of relax the mind, and electronic screen light can interfere with the production of melatonin, our sleep hormone.
  8. Turn the clock's face away from you to avoid both its glow, and repeatedly checking the time.
  9. Make a habit of enjoying a soothing activity at bedtime such as listening to soft, tranquil music, listening to an audio book, doing a few simple stretches, or other relaxation exercise.
  10. Writing thoughts down helps us let go of them and relax. Keep a note pad and pen on your nightstand to jot down any brilliant ideas or nagging thoughts keeping you awake.
  11. Once in bed, with eyes closed, visualize (mentally picture) a peaceful, calming activity or place. Imagine the sights, sounds, tastes, sensations, and smells you would encounter if actually there. Notice how the place or activity relaxes your body.
  12. Side sleepers, try placing a pillow between your legs to prevent the knees from touching. Not only is this comforting, it keeps the spine in alignment and reduces hip and lower back strain.

Pleasant dreams.

Source: Foundation for PN
Photo credit: Jonathan Willier

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