Sleep is tricky if pain keeps you up, or wakes you up. At the same time when you sleep the restoration and healing occurs. So how do you get to sleep and stay asleep when healing? Here are some tips:
Have a routine. You know the drill turn off the electronics, phone and dim the lights. Personally, I love to take a shower or bath to release the day and begin to unwind the nervous system. From there I move through a short and gentle yoga practice including lots of long holds, deep breaths and ending with a couple of restorative postures. In a perfect world this is done by myself, but most of the time my three year old joins in. On those nights the practice def takes on a new flavor, but it’s sweet moments that I can cherish forever with my daughter. Plus it’s setting some healthy habits for her as well. When you are healing from injury choose a practice that will help to support the healing. My patients are always given an individualized practice (AKA your homework), this is the prefect time to do it.
2. Support yourself. Use lots of pillows and bolsters. Support yourself in bed so you can be as comfortable as possible. This is the time to be high maintenance. If you are not comfortable and focus on the pain it will take FOREVER to fall asleep (if you can).
3. Use essential oils. Another part of my routine is using calming and grounding essential oils before my yoga practice and bed. I like to diffuse lavender, cedar wood, vetiver, stress away, peace and calming and/or orange. Topically I use the roller Tranquil on my neck and wrists. If I’m really having a hard time drifting off then I inhale a drop of valerian or I will take Immupro which has a little melatonin and mushrooms to boost immunity.
4. Keep the roller by the bed. I also apply deep relief to any areas of discomfort to dull the pain, and keep the roller on the night stand. That way if I wake up in pain, I immediately can apply something to help without having to get out of bed. It also prevents my mind from taking off with worry about the pain getting worse, because I know I just used something that will help so I can get right back to sleep.
5. If you wake up try to get back to sleep as quickly as possible. Only as a last resort get out of bed and turn on the lights. Do something to calm the mind, and to support the sleep to return. Apply something that will help with pain (see above), then reclose the eyes. Communicate with your body. Ask it what it needs. Sometimes the body just wants your attention (often we ignore it throughout our busy days). Now is the time, bring your breath to the area of discomfort, or visualize healing, excessive inflammation and pain leaving the body. for example. Maybe you will fall back to sleep during this process, worse case you don’t, then at least you’ve had quality connection time with yourself. Sometimes that’s the best thing you can do to promote healing.
If you have questions on any of the above then just reply to this e-mail. I’m here to help!
If you have low back discomfort that comes and goes, like a nagging ache, or pain down the leg. Or if you are feeling tight and sore muscles from tension and stress then the workshop this Saturday 12/8 at Prana, 2-4PM is for you! Click here to register: Yoga Therapy for Stress Relief: Reducing Low Back Pain
PS- Put in some ear buds and listen to this interview with physical therapist Jaime where she highlights some of the benefits of working with a physical therapist who doesn’t take insurance.