Getting a Good Night’s Sleep With Ankylosing Spondylitis

By Greg Dean
Updated 2024-03-28 17:22:17 | Published 2022-02-24 23:02:14
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    • Discover the world of Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) through our dedicated iMedix Blog section. Learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments of AS. This area serves as a guide for individuals living with AS and their caregivers, offering information and tips for managing this chronic inflammatory disease.

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep With Ankylosing Spondylitis

I have a vivid memory of the long night I spent in the rehab hospital after my first hip replacement surgery. The room was filled with darkness and silence. Surprisingly, I didn't experience too much pain thanks to my new hip. However, despite closing my eyes tightly and trying to fall asleep, I struggled to doze off.

Nowadays, I am fortunate to be able to sleep through the night. However, I can empathize with those who suffer from chronic pain and find it difficult to get enough rest. Sleep plays a vital role in our physical and mental well-being. It can be incredibly challenging when sleep eludes us, as the lack of sleep significantly impacts our quality of life.

Imagine being someone who lives with chronic pain. Falling asleep and staying asleep may feel like completing a marathon only to have your body give out at the last stretch. It's as if you cross the finish line, exhausted, only to find that your body won't allow you to rest. Despite your best efforts, you remain wide awake, unable to finish the race you started or obtain the rest you need. If you can relate to this, raise your hand.

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Running a marathon is similar to the experience of finally falling asleep but being unable to stay that way throughout the night, no matter how much energy you expend in the process.

Individuals with chronic pain often encounter difficulties in various scenarios, although this is not an exhaustive list. It can be challenging to find a comfortable position to sleep or relax due to the pain. To alleviate this issue, try practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation before bedtime.

I, personally, incorporate regular meditation for at least an hour before sleeping. This helps calm my mind and connect with my intuition. Additionally, I ensure my bedroom provides a comfortable sleep environment by keeping it cool, dark, and relatively quiet, except for our dog who sleeps with us on the floor.

Maintaining a well-rounded, nutritious diet supplies your body with the necessary nutrients for optimal health. Incorporating regular exercise into your weekly routine also helps manage stress and establish consistent sleep patterns.

To increase the likelihood of falling asleep, it's beneficial to avoid consuming caffeinated beverages at least six hours before bed, as they may negatively affect sleep quality. Establishing a soothing bedtime routine, such as taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or practicing gentle yoga poses, can make falling asleep easier.

Daytime fatigue and exhaustion can be alleviated by taking regular breaks, eating energizing snacks, and engaging in light physical activity or stretching. It's also helpful to discuss any sleep issues with your doctor to identify potential underlying causes of fatigue or exhaustion.

Being awakened by pain or the need to change body positions due to pain can be unpleasant when all you crave is a good night's rest. Including stretching exercises in your bedtime routine may help reduce muscle tension, and with your healthcare provider's approval, over-the-counter pain medication can be considered.

Waking up feeling tired and groggy is a dreadful sensation. If you consistently experience this, it is essential to speak with your healthcare provider about it. Establishing and following a regular sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on weekends), can help reset your internal clock. Additionally, avoiding the use of electronics such as computers and TV screens before bed is crucial, as they emit blue light that can disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone necessary for regulating sleep.

Chronic pain may make it difficult to achieve a restful night's sleep, but there are steps you can take to improve this situation. Setting and adhering to a regular sleep schedule is key to resetting your internal clock, while avoiding screens before bed can enhance the quality of your sleep. With these tips in mind, envision yourself as an athlete running a race against chronic pain. By consistently maintaining healthy habits, even if they seem like small wins or losses at first, you will eventually begin to see positive changes that accumulate over time.

Keep moving forward, one step at a time, and never lose hope. I'm cheering you on! Stay connected with others who have ankylosing spondylitis by joining our Facebook Support Group now.

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