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In “ Common Causes and Cures for Middle-of-the-Night Insomnia Part I,” we discussed what chronic worriers and frequent bathroom users can do about middle-of-the-night insomnia. In Part II we turn our attention to pain, sleep environment and your digestive system.
One of the most common sleep disruptions is chronic pain. Studies show that between 60% and 90% of people suffering from chronic pain also sleep poorly. While even mild pain has a significant impact on sleep, many people don’t take it seriously enough. Here are some steps to take if pain wakes you up in the middle of the night on a recurring basis. When it comes to pain, pain management experts recommend being proactive, treating pain from the very start. Migraine sufferers benefit from beta-blockers while fibromyalgia and arthritis sufferers experience long-term relief from the tricyclic antidepressant nortriptyline as it blocks pain signals.
Chronic pain sufferers often find themselves in the pattern of not sleeping well at night and taking long naps during the day. If you didn’t get a good night’s sleep the night before, it’s best to limit any daytime naps to 30 minutes tops. You should also take your naps before 3 p.m. One strategy many chronic pain sufferers use to take their mind off the pain is reading. Be sure and choose a book that’s easy to read in small installments. Books with exciting plot lines will keep you awake, turning the pages into the wee hours of the morning and leave you feeling more tired the next day. Books with poetry or simple meditations work best for helping you to relax and fall asleep more quickly.
Another common cause of middle-of-the-night insomnia is your sleep environment. If your bedroom is in an area that experiences a lot of light, sounds, temperature changes and vibrations, your body is exposed to too much stimuli when you’re trying to sleep. To eliminate the noise that comes from planes, trains and automobiles, block the street noise with white noise. Try playing CDs with nature sounds to create a more soothing sleep environment. Oscillating fans work well too. To eliminate too much light, use a blackout curtains with shades. Use electric tape on smoke detectors and cable boxes that have annoyingly bright lights. Maintain the ideal sleeping temperature by turning the heat down and using an extra blanket or comforter that you can easily throw off if you become too warm. If you’re a light sleeper, it’s also advantageous to check your house for any creaks. It’s much easier to put down a rug and eliminate a squeaky floor than it is to wear a pair of earplugs to bed.
Your digestive system is another common cause of middle-of-the-night insomnia. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do about it. One remedy is eating smaller, more frequent meals. For people suffering with gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn, this is the best strategy when it comes to getting a better night’s sleep. To avoid waking up in the middle of the night eat a substantial snack late afternoon and a smaller dinner early in the evening. Avoid a midnight snack and try not to eat two to three hours before going to bed. It’s also better to have spicy ethnic meals for lunch rather than dinner. Vegetables and high-fiber grains at dinner will keep your digestion moving more efficiently. You can strengthen your digestive system by taking calcium after meals which in turn will help you sleep. It’s also better for your digestive system when you sleep on your side with a body pillow. Keeping antacids at your nightstand is another effective way to get a better night’s sleep if you are a frequent heartburn sufferer.
These simple habits will help prevent middle-of-the-night insomnia.