“So often I tell my friends and family that I wish I had a way to give all chronic pain sufferers a cloud to sleep on. So we could have a good night’s sleep and focus on life rather than our pain.” – PainPathways reader, Lori
Lori’s quote – and all of our readers and Facebook fans – inspired us to explore and share ways to sleep pain free. Many of you have told us how soft bedding, the right mattress, pillows and pajamas have helped ease your pain and allowed you to get a good night’s sleep.
So, we’ve compiled your thoughts and added some of our own to help you sleep better and more comfortably with chronic pain. (Be sure to read to the end … for an exciting giveaway!)
Make sure your mattress is supportive
“I purchased a foam and gel mattress and elevated bed. One of the best purchases I have ever made. After a couple of days of sleeping on this bed I have been pain free.” – Sarah
The wrong mattress can increase your pain and have a major impact on how well you sleep. So test the different types of mattresses on the market and review mattress guidelines to find the perfect mattress for you.
Although it’s one of the most expensive, memory foam mattresses are very popular. People like that they provide support but don’t put pressure on your body – helpful for chronic pain sufferers. One of our readers recommends the option of adjusting head and feet electronically.
If you can’t afford a new mattress right now, experiment with low-budget ways to upgrade your current situation, like adding an egg-crate foam sheet, a memory foam topper or a bed board underneath.
Choose soft, comfortable sheets and pillowcases
“I buy vintage pillowcases because new, store-bought ones feel like sandpaper.” – PainPathways reader
Do you appreciate the luxurious feeling of soft sheets in a fluffy bed? Your linens can really make a big difference. So consider upgrading your sheets to aid in your pain relief.
Cotton is very popular due to its durability, comfort and breathability. It also gets softer with age, to add to your comfort.
For thread count, higher isn’t necessarily better. A lower-thread-count sheet made from fibers that are softer by nature, such as Egyptian cotton, will feel silkier than a high-thread-count sheet made from a lower-quality cotton blend. So look for a thread count in the 400 to 450 range.
Try new pillows
“I’ve recently purchased foam/gel pillows and that has made a world of difference and now I am in the search for a foam/gel mattress topper or preferably a whole new foam/gel mattress.” – Candice
You know having a pillow that is comfortable and supportive can be crucial to a good night’s sleep and decreasing pain. Pillows range in their ﬁlling, shape, intended position and the way they contour around speciﬁc areas. Here are filling options for you to consider:
Foam: Look for high density. The higher the density, the less breakdown, and the more support you will have without getting too soft.
Memory foam: These are popular because they reduce pressure points by adjusting to the shape of your body. Memory foam pillows come in various shapes, including a popular contoured S-shape, which is meant to support the neck. The downside: memory foam can make sleepers hot and sometimes emit an unpleasant chemical odor.
Latex: Your firmest pillow option that can provide back and neck support. Latex resists mold and dust mites.
Wool/cotton: They are hypoallergenic and resist mold and dust mites. Both materials tend to be quite firm.
Down/feather: This filling is good if you like to feel cradled. They’re also good for colder climates because they retain warmth. If you get hot easily, they may not be your best choice.
Some people find extra comfort with a body pillow, or a standard or memory foam pillow tucked between their knees. See sidebar!
Find the right pajamas
“I like satin pajamas. They slide so nicely on the sheets.” – Cindy
Sleeping in the right pajamas can add to your bedtime comfort. Consider the fabric, fit and feel. Like soft bedding, you’ll know when it feels right. If you have hot flashes or night sweats, you may be interested in moisture-wicking sleepwear.
Here are brands recommended by our Facebook fans:
– Alfani sleepwear “Love the smooth texture and great to sleep in.”
– Soma sleepwear “Their fabric is so soft, lightweight and stretchy”
– Gap loungewear “Love to wear in public. It’s so comfortable, like PJs.”
– The White Cotton Gown “Love their gowns and reasonable prices. I’m a fan of The Ashley.”
Want a chance to win a Comfort U Total Body Support Pillow from Moonlight Slumber (shown in the sidebar)? Leave a reply on this article and tell us what helps you sleep pain free in the comments below. One lucky winner will be announced by July 15!
PainPathways is the first, only and ultimate pain magazine. First published in spring 2008, PainPathways is the culmination of the vision of Richard L. Rauck, MD, to provide a shared resource for people living with and caring for others in pain. This quarterly resource not only provides in-depth information on current treatments, therapies and research studies but also connects people who live with pain, both personally and professionally.
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