Not getting enough sleep can make you grumpy and out-of-it the next day. Additionally, insufficient sleep can cause health problems like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke. However, by practicing these healthier habits on a consistent basis, you can rest better.
- Stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on the weekends. A schedule can help regulate your body’s clock, which can help you fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
- Avoid daytime naps, if you have trouble sleeping. Or, limit yourself to power naps of 10 to 20 minutes.
- Regulate your circadian rhythms. Avoid bright light in evening and make sure you get sunlight or bright light during the day. By getting your natural circadian rhythms in check, you should sleep better.
- Relax before bedtime. An hour before bedtime, practice a relaxing ritual like reading, meditation, listening to soothing music, or taking a warm bath or shower. This will help to shift your body into sleep mode. Avoid using electronic devices like TVs, laptops, or cell phones. These devices emit blue light that activates the brain and increases alertness.
- Exercise daily. Regular exercise can help improve your sleep. However, don’t exercise within 3 hours of bedtime, otherwise, the increased energy may keep you up. If you suffer from pain in your feet, knees, hips and/or back, low-impact, moderate exercise can help reduce your pain. Try walking, swimming, or yoga.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening. These things can disrupt your rest. While alcohol may make you sleepy, it could backfire and wake you up a few hours later. Tobacco and caffeine can stimulate your system and interfere with your sleep. If you must use these products, confine their use to earlier in the day. Eating a big or spicy meal can cause discomfort from indigestion which can make it hard to sleep. Therefore, avoid eating a large meal within 3 hours of bedtime. If you’re hungry in the evening, try eating a light snack about 45 minutes before bed.
- Evaluate your bedroom. Make sure your room is conducive to sleep. The temperature should be cool – between 60 to 67 degrees F. Your bedroom should be sufficiently dark. Noises and other distractions should be eliminated or reduced. Consider using blackout curtains, eye shades, ear plugs, “white noise” machines, humidifiers, fans, and other devices.
- Use your bedroom only for sleep or sex. Don’t work, watch TV, or do other activities in bedroom. You want to associate your bedroom with sleeping.
- Ensure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive. If your mattress is over 10 years old, it’s time for a new one.
Pain Can Affect Your Sleep
In a previous blog post, we talk about how pain can cause sleep problems. Pain can disrupt your sleep cycles, which means you won’t get the benefits of a deep, restful sleep.
If you’re not sleeping at night or pain is keeping you awake at night, it’s time to talk with your doctor. You may suffer from medical conditions that affect the quality and the number of hours of sleep you receive. Or, you may need to review your current medications with your physician to determine if they’re the reason you can’t sleep.
Additionally, you may want to keep a sleep diary to determine if there are any common patterns or issues associated with your sleep or sleeping habits, like snoring, restless legs, etc. A sleep diary can also provide your doctor with valuable information about quantity and quality of your sleep.
Treatments Are Available to Help Your Sleep Better
If you’re not getting a good night’s rest, your doctor can recommend various treatment options, such as:
- Medication – Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available. Medications can include benzodiazepine hypnotics, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics, and melatonin receptor agonists.
- Physical therapy – If you’re suffering from foot, knee, hip, and/or back pain, you may not be as active as you could be if you didn’t have pain. When you’re not as active, you don’t use your daytime energy which can also keep you from sleeping well at night. Additionally, your pain may get worse at night and keep you awake. Physical therapy helps to reduce inflammation, stiffness, and soreness with exercise, manipulation, and massage. It can also help your body heal itself by promoting the production of natural pain-reducing chemicals within your body.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This psychotherapy or talk therapy helps you reframe any negative thinking patterns or behaviors into positive thoughts and behaviors. For example, you might work on keeping a regular bedtime and wake up schedule.
- Sleep apnea treatment – Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder. During sleep apnea, your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly during the night, or feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you may have sleep apnea
Is Lower Extremity Pain Keeping You Awake at Night?
If pain in your feet, knees, hips, and back is preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, you may want to try custom orthotics in your shoes. During an average day, when you walk, your feet can endure hundreds of tons of force. That’s the equivalent of a fully loaded cement truck. Custom foot orthotics, like ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, can help reduce lower extremity pain by redistributing weight and absorbing these shock forces as you move. They also provide cushioning to reduce stress on your lower body while correcting your gait and any structural abnormalities. Therefore, your foot and lower extremity pain will be reduced – giving you pain relief.
To learn more about ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, visit the WalkEZStore. On our website, you can schedule an appointment with our founder and certified pedorthist Kathy Carandang. Or, you can order your custom orthotics directly from our online store. You’ll receive a kit with detailed instructions on how to properly cast your feet to have your custom orthotics made.
Please contact the WalkEZStore at 1-888-392-5539, ext. 1, if you have any questions about using custom orthotics and how they can reduce your lower extremity pain.
ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics – Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover Photo: 123RF / Denis Raev