Sleep is extremely important to the body, it can help relax us, shut our minds off, rejuvenate the body and help with pain levels.
5 great reasons why sleep is so important:
- Sleep helps to repair your body.
- Sleep can reduce the occurrence of mood disorders.
- Sleep helps you learn and retain information better.
- A good night’s sleep can help lower stress levels.
- It helps to boosts your immune system.
How do you get a good nights sleep when you are in pain or stressed?
Everyone experiences a certain level of stress in their lives. For those who suffer with chronic pain that level of stress can escalate. TMD is definitely a condition that has caused me more stress, my life has been altered irrevocably because of this condition and I know that is the case for so many others. One of the things I’ve found is that sleep DOES help me, but sometimes shutting off my mind to get a good night’s sleep is hard. I’ve found a few things to help with this.
Setting the stage for a good nights sleep:
- 45 mins before going to bed I turn off the tv or computer.
- I always find that brushing my teeth somewhat rejuvenates me, so I wash my face/brush my teeth right away when getting ready for bed.
- I like to keep the lights off in my room so I keep a lamp that has only a low glow to it on. I have a book light, but again I like for it to be low lighting (but not too low to strain your eyes).
- I love to read before going to sleep, Kindle has a great feature of being able to choose how bright you want the background to be. I prefer something lighthearted.
- I don’t always want to read, so I’ve put together a sleep album on my ipod, it has some of my favorite piano music on it and I like to just lay and listen to that.
- When I’m really stressed out, I find that I just need more time to prepare for bed, to make sure my mind is shut off, this is when I do yoga stretching/breathing. This has been one of the best ways to help my mind be calm. After I do these I normally listen to my ipod for awhile.
- I count backwards…………yes I know it sounds strange but I’ve found this to be great. I got this idea while researching meditation. I needed something to focus on, to lower my stress/anxiety levels (I researched meditation while preparing for my MRI and came across this idea, it was the only thing that got me through that TMJ MRI). It’s super easy and was a quick way to think about something else, or calm myself. Just pick a number, I always start with 399 and I start to count backwards. I was so surprised at how quickly it calmed me in stressful situations (MRI tube anyone) or even how much it relaxed me when I couldn’t find a way to shut my mind off.
It also helps if you use your bed only for sleeping. Do not read, eat, watch tv, etc in your bed. Also, caffeine can stay in your system for up to 11 hours. If you have trouble sleeping I would advise to stay away from caffeine.