3 Tips on How to Fall Asleep If You Have Neck or Back Pain
If you suffer from back pain that prevents you from falling asleep at night, you are probably looking for any remedy or method that will improve the situation.
Sleeping pills don’t help everyone and many people refuse to rely on them. Which is good because some sleeping pills can cause addiction that is not easy to overcome.
Despite the fact that there are not many studies that have been conducted for holistic treatments that work for both insomnia and pain, some remedies can be really helpful. In this article, we gathered three tips on how to fall asleep if you have neck or back pain.
1. Melatonin supplements
If neck or back pain interrupts your sleep at night, you may try taking melatonin supplements. Melatonin is the hormone that is responsible for your sleep because the amount of melatonin in your brain is higher at night and lower during the day. Turning on the light at night, for example, can stop the production of melatonin and this can interfere with your attempts to fall asleep.
A number of studies have been done on the effect of melatonin on sleep and they show that melatonin supplements may be beneficial (especially in cases of disturbed rhythm or sleep patterns of night-shift workers). But studies on insomnia showed mixed results. You should also know that these supplements have not been tested on children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers. That’s why if you or your child are considering melatonin, it would be better to consult your doctor.
Melatonin as a supplement doesn’t replace sleep medicine if you need them. If your insomnia persists or you have additional symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. Despite the fact that melatonin is regulated by the FDA, these regulations are not as strict as for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. But you should know that melatonin may interact with other medications or may increase your risk for surgery-related health problems.
Valerian is a herb that has been used to treat insomnia since the second century. Along with insomnia, valerian is also used to suppress anxiety, depression, headaches, and treat other conditions. You can use valerian as a tea but it is available as a liquid extract in the form of capsules and tablets as well. It is quite safe to take valerian for a short period of time (four to six weeks) but its long-term safety profile has not been studied.
Possible side effects are mild and include fatigue in the morning after use, dizziness, headaches, or indigestion. Although valerian is usually promoted as a means to cope with restless sleep, there is not enough quality evidence that can confirm that if it’s really useful for this (or any other) problem. But they also don’t exclude this.
Studies that have either been or are currently being conducted focus on the effects of valerian on sleep in healthy older people and patients with Parkinson's disease. Other studies are exploring the ability of valerian (along with the ability of other herbs) to alleviate the symptoms of menopause.
3. Mindfulness meditation
A winding-down procedure at the end of the day can help you fall and remain asleep until the end of the night. Research on this topic indicates that there is a place for a relaxation technique as part of an overall sleep improvement strategy. To achieve the best result, you may try to combine your relaxation technique with other sleep hygiene methods such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, go to bed in a quiet, dark room, and avoid stimulants like caffeine, heavy foods, alcohol, and exercise before bedtime.
There is a study that compared drug-induced sleep with stress-reduction based on mindfulness and discovered that mindfulness-based stress reduction is a real and quite effective alternative to drugs. Despite the fact that they are not statistically significant, the rates of recovery from poor sleep were much higher after stress reduction based on mindfulness than pharmacologically based methods.
Other relaxation techniques
There are a lot of relaxation methods that have been studied but almost all of them showed mixed or inconclusive results. These techniques include biofeedback, hypnotherapy, guided imagery, etc. Of course, you may try such practices in the search for a good night's sleep but scientific researches don’t consider them as a viable treatment option. But improving your sleep is the main task at the moment and any methods can be used to make you feel better.