If you’re living with peripheral neuropathy, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night’s sleep. The pain and numbness in your extremities can make it hard to find a comfortable position, and even when you do finally drift off, you may be awoken by the slightest movement or touch. There are several ways how to sleep with peripheral neuropathy, making you have a better and more comfortable sleep at night.
Sleeping With Neuropathy
Insomnia is one of the most common neuropathy-related complaints. You might believe that it’s the least of your worries when you have neuropathy. However, the piling effects of neuropathy symptoms and sleep disturbances necessitate that you confront both head-on.
Neuropathy can have a variety of effects on sleep. Neuropathy symptoms such as odd feelings or sensitivity to touch, particularly in the feet and legs, for some people may make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Many patients report that without daytime distractions such as work, friends, or hobbies, their perception of pain actually rises when they try to sleep.
Sleep difficulties can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms for some people. Sleep deprivation, for example, may decrease your pain threshold and make the neuropathic pain feel more severe. People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be depressed and experience other mood problems, such as weight loss or decreased exercise levels. When you combine neuropathy with this, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.
Why Neuropathy Is Worse At Night
Increased pain at night can be caused by a variety of things, just like chronic pain. Not all causes are fully recognized, but here are some potential reasons why you’re hurting more during the night.
Best Sleeping Position For Neuropathy
When you recline, the weight of your body may apply pressure on your nerves in ways that it does not when you’re upright. This is especially prevalent with sciatica and other persistent pain brought on by pinched or compressed nerves. The added pressure on the nerve may increase inflammation and pain.
For some people, temperature changes can cause an increase in neuropathic pain levels. This is often the case with Raynaud’s phenomenon, where exposure to cold temperatures leads to vasospasm and a decrease in blood flow to the extremities. The resulting numbness and tingling can be painful for some people.
Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS) is a condition that causes an irresistible urge to move your legs, usually accompanied by unpleasant sensations like prickling, itching, or burning. RLS is more common in people with diabetes, and it can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Most patients feel nerve pain at night only.
Fluctuations in hormone levels can cause increased pain for some people with neuropathy. This is often the case with post-menopausal women, who may experience more pain as a result of decreased estrogen levels.
Distraction And Attention
During the day, you’re able to distract yourself from your pain with work, hobbies, or social activities. At night, however, there’s nothing to take your mind off the pain. This can make it seem worse than it actually is.
Medication Timing And Dosage
If you’re taking medication for your neuropathy, how and when you take it can affect your pain levels at night. Some medications need to be taken on an empty stomach, while others are best taken with food. Some medications may cause drowsiness, while others may keep you awake. Make sure you talk to your doctor about how and when to take your medication to get the most benefit with the least amount of side effects.
How To Sleep With Peripheral Neuropathy
There are a few things you can do to try to get better sleep despite your neuropathy:
Get Regular Exercise During The Day
Exercise has a variety of benefits for people with neuropathy, one of which is improved sleep. Getting regular exercise during the day can help you sleep better at night by reducing pain and improving your overall sense of well-being.
Establish Bedtime Routine
A consistent bedtime routine can help you relax and prepare for sleep. Try taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or doing some gentle stretching before bed. Avoid watching television or working on the computer in bed, as these activities can stimulate your mind and make it harder to fall asleep.
Create A Comfortable Sleep Environment
Your sleep environment should be cool, dark, and quiet to promote optimal sleep. Use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light, and earplugs or a white noise machine to reduce noise. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and support your body in a neutral position.
Manage Stress Levels
Chronic stress can exacerbate neuropathy symptoms, so it’s important to find ways to manage your stress levels. Meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can all help to reduce stress.
Try Sleeping In Different Positions
If you typically sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side or stomach. Some people find that this helps to reduce pain. You may also want to try using a body pillow or placing a pillow under your knees to support your spine in a neutral position.
Use Heat Or Cold Therapy
Applying heat or cold to your painful areas can help to reduce pain and improve blood flow. Try taking a warm bath before bed, using a heating pad, or applying ice packs wrapped in a towel to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time.
Consider Alternative Therapies
There are several alternative therapies that may help to reduce neuropathic pain, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic adjustments. Talk to your doctor about whether these therapies may be right for you.
Get Help From A Specialist
If you’re still having trouble sleeping despite trying these tips, it may be time to seek help from a sleep specialist. The sleep specialist can help you identify and treat any underlying sleep disorders that may be contributing to your insomnia.
Talk To Your Doctor About Medication
There are a variety of medications that can help to relieve neuropathic pain. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about whether a pain reliever or sleep aid would be appropriate for you.
Sleeping with neuropathy can be difficult, but there are things you can do to ease your pain and get better sleep. Establishing a regular routine, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and managing your stress levels can all help. Talk to your doctor about medication options if you’re struggling to get relief from your pain.
If you have neuropathy, there are steps you can take to ease your pain and improve your sleep. Regular exercise, relaxation techniques, and making some changes to your sleep environment can all help. If you’re still struggling, talk to your doctor about medication options. With the right treatment, you can get the relief you need to get a good night’s sleep.