How To Love Yourself to Create Healing
Improve your environment, improve your life; it’s one of my favorite mantras, and it’s even more true when it comes to my chronic pain. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at an early age. Though it was comforting to finally put a diagnosis to my pain, it was frustrating to realize I’d be battling my condition for the rest of my life. Fortunately, I found some great ways to alter my living environment to make my bad days more manageable. The changes to my bedroom were especially valuable, making it easier to relax at the end of a long (and often painful) day. And it can work for you, too!
When you have chronic pain, it affects every aspect of your life and means that you do not rest well, cannot get comfortable, and have difficulty concentrating. People seek relief in any place they can: they try yoga, they avoid foods that cause inflammation, they visit doctors, they try natural remedies, and many times they resort to taking painkillers. But, people with chronic pain often overlook one area of their lives that can bring some relief: their bedrooms. If you make a few key changes in your bedroom, you can minimize your pain.
Change Your Mattress
If you have the wrong mattress, you may be exacerbating your pain. Ergonomic mattresses foster ideal sleeping posture and relax muscles so that you can get a restful sleep and get relief. The trick is to get the mattress that is best suited to your natural sleeping posture. Dr. Jeffrey Katz, an authority on back pain, points to a study on patients suffering from lower back pain: “Those using medium-firm mattresses reported less pain when lying in bed as well as less pain-related disability compared with those using firm mattresses.”
Some companies manufacture high-quality mattresses designed specifically to relieve chronic back pain.
You have a couple of options for testing mattresses to see which has the most positive effect on your pain. You can spend time in mattress and furniture stores testing them in person or you can order a mattress online and try it in your own home; many stores allow customers to return the mattress for a small fee or free of charge. Keep in mind that mattresses that are too firm push against your body and make it difficult to relax, and mattresses that are too soft do not offer enough support. If you sleep on your back, a medium-firm mattress is best, while side sleepers should have a slightly softer mattress to support the shoulders and hips, and stomach sleepers need a slightly firmer mattress.
Create a More Relaxing Bedroom
One study analyzed the connection between sleep quality and chronic pain. Researchers determined that the amount of pain people have prior to going to bed has a minimal effect on their sleep quality. In fact, it is the quality of your sleep that determines how much pain you experience the next day; people who sleep poorly have more pain the next day. Insomnia and poor-quality sleep trigger inflammation and worsens chronic pain. Low-quality sleep also makes people more sensitive to pain because the lack of sleep affects your perception of pain.
In addition to ensuring you have the correct mattress for your natural sleep posture, you should take steps to make your bedroom a more relaxing environment so you can get better sleep.
Create a Calming Station
If you create a calming station in your bedroom, preferably on your bedside table, you will be able to relax your senses, improve the quality of your sleep, and minimize your chronic pain. You may choose to put an essential oil diffuser in your calming station to add a soothing mist to your sleep space. Consider adding a wireless speaker so you can listen to soothing sounds. Put one or two of your favorite books on the table so you can relax by reading before bed; if you’d rather unwind and reflect on your day, put a gratitude journal and pen on the bedside table. You also may want to include a houseplant on the table because plants are a natural element that provides a calming effect. The key is to put only those items that will help calm you down and help you transition to sleep on the bedside table so that it isn’t cluttered.
One of the best ways to reduce your chronic pain is to improve the quality of your sleep. With a few changes to your bedroom, you can relax more easily and get the sleep you need to minimize your pain.
Written by Jackie Waters of Hyper Tidy
Image via Pixabay by ErikaWittlieb
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