How to Get Better Sleep without Painkillers or Sedatives
You can get better sleep without painkillers or sedatives. Unfortunately, not everyone likes to take medication, and you could become dependent on chemicals for sleeping. In this case, you will likely worsen your insomnia and pain. However, you are in luck. There are numerous things you can try for a better night's sleep. Some are effective alone but work best together.
Switch Out Your Mattress
One of the most obvious things you can do to relieve pain or get rid of sleep problems is to get a new mattress. But not any old mattress. Your mattress plays a vital role in getting a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, older beds made from springs and foam are no longer recommended since they aren't practical unless you get a top-of-the-range and costly one. Fortunately, advancements in mattress technology mean you can get cheaper, more effective ones. For example, mattresses with memory foam and latex for back pain work by relieving pressure.
Practice Yoga for Pain
This isn't for everyone and isn't even possible for some people. But millions of people worldwide practice yoga. And they swear by it for all kinds of health benefits such as improved blood flow, muscle strengthening, and boosting vital bodily systems. For example, some yoga positions, such as Balasana and Uttanasana, can increase melatonin for better sleep. Yet coupled with some other poses can also relieve some chronic pain at the same time. For example, Butterfly, Bridge, and Legs-Up-the-Wall are excellent for gently stretching and relaxing specific muscles.
Exercise Helps Better Sleep without Painkillers
According to the latest studies, almost 90% of people with chronic pain experience insomnia and sleep issues. Many of them turn to painkillers and sleeping tablets. While many of these are excellent for helping, they can become less effective over time. And some are addictive, such as Tramadol for pain and Ambien for sleep. A simple exercise can both relieve pain and promote better sleep. For instance, resistance exercises such as push-ups and lifting weights will tire you out. At the same time, stretching exercises are beneficial for chronic pain relief.
Take a Walk an Hour Before Bed
There are many reasons you might have chronic pain. For example, you might have RSI from sitting at an office desk all day. As a result, it is possible you don't move or walk around as much as you should. And there is a link between office work and suppressed melatonin, the chemical that promotes sleep. However, you can easily encourage melatonin by taking a walk before bed. Walking increases your body temperature and strengthens muscles for pain relief. But when it drops after a walk, it can also trigger your sleep cycle and boost melatonin.
Practice Breathing Techniques
You probably heard of breathing exercises but aren't sure what to do or if they can help. And they can be confusing since there are numerous breathing techniques for different results. For instance, breathing exercises can lower anxiety, boost energy or increase concentration. But there are also breathing exercises for sleep and pain relief. First, you must sit or lie comfortably, with your arms resting on your stomach or at your side. Then, take deep breaths, holding each one for two seconds before exhaling as much as possible, and repeat.
Control the Temperature of Your Room
Room temperature is vital when trying to get better sleep. And even more crucial if your sleep is disrupted by pain. A higher room temperature will cause you to “toss and turn” all night. Of course, coupled with pain, this will wake you, completely interrupting your sleep cycle and preventing recovery. You need to enter the N2 sleep cycle for your body to relax, repair proteins and enter the delta wave state. Most experts agree your bedroom should be between 15°C and 20°C (60°F and 67°F) for a more comfortable sleep with minimal disruption.
A Diet for Sleep and Pain Relief
Your diet is super important for too many reasons to state here. However, it can also directly affect your feelings, sleep patterns, and pain. Changing your diet isn't always easy, and it's a good idea to see your doctor. But here are some ways you can relieve pain and sleep better:
- Cut out all alcohol. Alcohol is a stimulant and severely disrupts sleep patterns.
- Don't consume caffeine from tea, coffee, chocolate, or cola after mid-day.
- Quit smoking. The urge to smoke can cause you to wake up at night during N2 sleep.
- Eat a varied diet of carbs, fiber, and proteins from veggies, fish, meat, and dairy.
- Increase your intake of vitamins and minerals from freshly prepared meals.
- Consider using vitamin and mineral supplements if you lack some of them.
- Consume sleep-promoting and soothing teas before bed, such as chamomile.
- Use anti-inflammatory ingredients such as leafy greens, fresh berries, and fatty fish.
It isn't always simple to change your diet. But you can begin with small steps. For example, switch to decaf coffee or tea to reduce caffeine. And gradually reduce the amount of meat on your plate while increasing vitamin-rich vegetables. Also, it's never too late to quit smoking.
Try Not to Watch TV in Bed
Modern technology means an almost endless list of ways to be entertained. Mobile devices and streaming technology also mean you can watch TV, play games, or even work from anywhere. Increasingly, people watch TV in bed. And while this is enjoyable in moderation, it can harm existing pain conditions in the long term. Your bed isn't made for sitting up for extended periods. And even the best beds and pillows won't help with your pain when used this way. Additionally, watching TV in bed at night can disrupt your sleep patterns by inducing beta brain waves.
Never Work from Your Bed
Further to using your bed in ways other than sleeping, working from your bed is never a good idea. Working from bed is made easier with devices like laptops and tablets. But it isn't advised that you should. Unless you absolutely have to, always try to work at a suitable desk with an adjustable chair. Otherwise, you will place undue stress on your lower back, shoulders, and neck. This will worsen any existing pain, cause new pain, and disrupt sleep if it gets bad enough. If you are ill from work, only use your bed to get the rest and sleep you need.
Apply Topical Ointments
Ointments have been around for thousands of years since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians. Yet modern topical creams were developed in the late 19th century. Rather than ingesting chemicals for pain relief, you can use some by applying them to your skin. Ibuprofen is a perfect example that works well as a cream or gel for muscle pain relief. The benefits of using ointments are that they don't pass through your internal systems and don't come into contact with the kidneys or liver. So if you are apprehensive about drugs, you can safely use topicals.
Use Holistics to Get Better Sleep without Painkillers
Of course, there are many holistic alternatives to modern drugs if you don't like to take medication or if you feel nothing is working. Holistic therapies such as acupressure, Reiki, and even herb consumption are common. In addition, many people swear by alternative approaches to pain and sleep issues. As a result, the wellness market is worth $1.5 trillion in the United States alone. Almost every town has offices available, so simply Google “holistic near me” to find what you are looking for, including chiropractors and massage therapists.
Increase Natural Melatonin
Many chemicals in your body regulate specific things. And exact amounts are required for your body to function correctly. Too little or too much can cause serious issues. For example, too much cortisol and not enough serotonin will cause conditions like anxiety and depression. You need melatonin to fall and stay asleep into your N2 stage for bodily healing. Yet you might have a melatonin issue. To promote melatonin production, you can make your room as dark as possible, limit screen time and find ways to relax. You can also take supplements.
Develop a Solid Sleep Routine
All the above methods will contribute to helping sleep and pain at night without taking painkillers or sleeping pills. However, one of the most crucial things you must do is program your body to sleep when it should. Of course, your lifestyle and responsibilities will affect this. But you must develop a solid sleeping routine that fits your life. For example, try to go to bed at the same time each night and wake at the same time each morning. Also, make a routine such as brushing your teeth 10 mins before bed and reading before switching off your lights for sleep.
Sleeping is more than just getting the rest you need. It actually helps your body repair and heals. So if your sleep is bad, you won't maintain the N2 sleep stages that should account for 55% of your entire slumber. However, you can get better sleep without painkillers or sedatives. Try getting a memory foam mattress, change your diet and develop a solid sleep routine.