Sleep is essential for health period!!
Without enough sleep, many of our internal systems do not function properly. For example, people who do not get enough sleep crave sugary and high carb foods, which increases the risk of diabetes. Furthermore, sleep is when the body repairs itself and without the time for healing and repair the risk of many chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimers, is dramatically increased.
Many people with neuropathy have difficulty sleeping because of painful symptoms flaring up at night, just when they are trying to settle into bed for the night. At night when you are lying in bed, pain can often feel worse because your body is more relaxed and your mind is not focused on multiple tasks as compared to the middle of the day. This means it is easier for our mind to focus in on these painful symptoms, which makes it even more difficult to get to sleep.
How much sleep is enough?
Adults are recommended to get 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night. Less than 6 hours per night is considered inadequate and a midday nap is recommended to make up for lack of night sleep.
10 Strategies to get to sleep
1. Set a bedtime alarm. Going to bed at a consistent time on weekdays and the weekend is important for getting good quality sleep and keeping your body in a rhythm. Aim to consistently get 7.5-9 hours of sleep per night.
2. Turn screens off 30 minutes before bed. The light from cell phones, computers and TV activate your brain to stay awake. Turn all of these devices off 30 minutes before bedtime to allow your brain time to relax and improve your sleep quality.
3. Limit caffeine after lunch. Caffeinated drinks stimulate the brain to be alert. In some people, this stimulation can last up to six hours. To improve your sleep cut out caffeine after lunch and instead enjoy herbal tea or water.
4. Get out in the sun. Exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, helps to keep your circadian rhythm on track. This also helps you feel tired in the evening when the sun goes down.
5. Keep a notepad beside your bed. Is stresses or anxiety preventing you from falling asleep? Keep a notepad by your bed to jot down anything on your mind. A clear mind will help you fall asleep more quickly.
6. Keep nerves healthy to reduce pain at night. Frontline Neuropathy is important for the health of your nerves. Over time our pro-nerve fats help to optimize your nerve structure and function and reduce the symptoms of neuropathy.
7. Meditation / Deep breathing is important for helping the body and mind relax while keeping your focus away from the pain. These techniques can also be used to help manage a mid-day painful episodes.
8. Music to help you nod off is another strategy to help the mind and boy relax while keeping your focus away from pain. There are many great playlists or albums available from music streaming services such as Apple, Spotify and Google Play to help with sleep. Try a few different types to see what helps you the best.
9. Be physically active by going for a walk, doing yoga or tai chi are all ways to help you improve your sleep quality. It is recommended for at least 15 minutes of your chosen activity. This physical activity also helps to protect nerves from neuropathy.
10. Sleep aids such as sleepy time tea, lavender essential oils, melatonin or valerian root are all natural ways to help the body and mind transition to sleep.
Learn why your pain is worse at night HERE.
Learn about the 5 main types of neuropathy HERE.