Are you having trouble sleeping due to chronic pain and illness? Some of the root causes are obvious. Maybe it’s your meds. Maybe it’s your diet. Still, there may be factors you hadn’t considered. Maybe it’s something else entirely. Here’s a few common issues that contribute to chronic illness insomnia and what you can do about them.
Addressing mentally blocked pain
Chronic illness pain can take many forms. Do you have pain you’re not even aware of? It’s habitual for those with chronic illness to mentally block their pain. Unfortunately, that underlying pain can still keep you up at night. Your brain is working overtime to keep you from feeling the pain. Therefore, it’s wide awake. If hidden pain is an issue, you may need a higher dose of medication or a different prescription altogether.
Timing your meds
Some medications can keep you up when taken at bedtime. Others make you sleep during the day. They might cause you to toss and turn at night while the rest of the world sleeps. Sometimes avoiding insomnia is a simple matter of timing your meds to your advantage. Take those that put you to sleep just before bed. Those that keep you up are best taken first thing in the morning. This may seem like common sense. However, some people with chronic illness simply take their meds as directed, without factoring in their impact on sleep.
Other medicinal side effects
Other side effects of your meds can make a huge difference, too. Some make you dizzy. Others may give you nightmares. Some may cause additional pain, nausea, swelling, night sweats, hallucinations or something else entirely. It’s common for chronic illness meds to give you flu-like symptoms. With all this going on, no wonder you can’t sleep. Talk to your doctor about prescribing something different or decreasing dosage if possible.
Timing your meals
Either chronic illness itself or the meds you take may be causing digestive issues. For instance, both my meds and my illness cause acid reflux. Because of this issue, I have to time my eating habits accordingly. Eating late at night causes me to lose sleep. I also have to be careful about what I eat. Greasy foods are the worst culprit for me. I avoid them at all costs. Paying attention to your eating habits can prevent chronic illness insomnia so you can get a good, sound sleep.
Sometimes insomnia isn’t being caused by chronic illness or medication. You are impacted by the same things as everyone else in the world. Are loud neighbors, extreme heat or an uncomfortable bed to blame for your insomnia? Maybe you have a fan in your room that keeps you up. Maybe you need a fan and don’t have one. When you’re sick, it’s easy to ignore the obvious. Still, sometimes your lack of sleep can be attributed to factors outside your illness.
Please note: The author is not a licensed medical professional. This article is based on personal experience and not meant to replace professional medical advice.
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