Millions of Americans suffer from neuropathy. It is often associated with diabetes since so many diabetics suffer from peripheral neuropathy (PN) or other forms. Let’s look at the cycle of sleep loss and nerve pain, with tips for better sleep and less pain.
Neuropathy and diabetes
Nerve pain, or neuropathy, is a common symptom of many diseases and disorders. Diabetes is one of the diseases that is often associated with neuropathy. In fact, approximately two-thirds of those who are diagnosed with diabetes are also suffering with neuropathy of some type, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Diabetes patients become especially susceptible to nerve pain as they grow older. Neuropathy is most often diagnosed among people who have had diabetes for a minimum of 25 years.
Why it’s important to get sleep tips for neuropathy
People who are suffering from any types of neuropathy, including the diabetic variety, often are fighting battles on two fronts: they’re wanting to find ways to relieve their pain, but they are also wanting to get more sleep. There have been recent scientific studies suggesting that pain and sleep really are a cycle, with pain causing loss of sleep, and loss of sleep in turn causing additional pain.
Since there is evidence of a cycle to your pain condition and sleep loss, it’s important to target both for recovery, explains former Harvard diabetic neuropathy researcher Leslie MacGregor Levine. “Sleep disturbances can aggravate neuropathy symptoms,” she says. “For example, sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and make the neuropathic pain feel worse.”
Getting better sleep: quick tips
Here are a few ways that you can improve your sleep to reduce the nerve symptoms:
- Set a predetermined time to go to bed and get up.
- Create a pre-sleep ritual, such as doing some pleasure-reading and/or drawing a warm bath.
- Cut down on caffeine, especially within six hours of bedtime.
- Quit smoking or reduce it, especially late in the day.
- Try not to eat anything substantial or have alcoholic drinks late in the evening.
- Shut off electronic devices in the early evening.
Here are some ideas to get yourself calm as you approach sleep:
- “[Give] yourself an extra hour before bed to relax and unwind, and time to write down worries and plans for the following day,” suggests
- Try meditation.
- Use deep-breathing techniques.
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