I have a love-hate relationship with the word “painsomnia” — insomnia caused by chronic pain. Hate because I know it all too well. My osteoporosis has led to multiple fractures, each leaving some pain behind, and the osteoarthritis in my knees and hips is slowly progressing. Getting comfortable at night is a challenge, and pain-disrupted sleep is so difficult! Therein comes the love part of the relationship. Much as I hate the word, it just describes the experience so well.
I am happy to say that I experience painsomnia much less often since I upgraded each element of my sleep station. Here are my tips for creating a comfortable bed to reduce painsomnia.
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1. Find a mattress that cushions your joints and other areas where you experience chronic pain.
First came the mattress. There are so many articles out there with mattress ratings, often with different opinions of “the best.” After some research, I decided on an Avocado Green Mattress. I chose it because their hybrid was highly rated and I love the company’s sustainability. It made a big difference in my sleep comfort.
2. Use a body pillow to reduce painsomnia.
Next, I upgraded my body pillow. Sleeping with a body pillow is essential for me, both because a prop between my knees prevents hip pain and because I need to elevate my shoulder. My old body pillow was getting thin from use. I chose the Buffy Cloud Body Pillow. It has proven to be a good pick. It is thick and firm, and doesn’t seem to be mashing down over time. Another improvement in my sleep.
3. Choose the right cover for your body pillow to help you sleep comfortably.
With a new body pillow, it was time for a new body pillow cover. Here, I implemented a lesson I learned while recovering from one of my shoulder fractures. I was in rehab, and using every extra pillow the facility had to elevate my shoulder at night. A friend of mine gave me a velour dog pillow, which I placed at the top of the pile. I noticed that when I was stroking the pillow, my pain seemed less. My doctor verified that pleasurable sensations can override pain signals. I found a faux fur body pillow cover, similar to this one. It is amazingly soft. I find myself rubbing it as I fall asleep, and that helps.
XeGe Luxury Shaggy Faux Fur Body Pillow Cover, Fluffy Bed Pillow Case with Zipper Closure, Soft Decorative Plush Long Pillow Sham, Fuzzy Hug Pillow for Home Living Room 21"x54" Sage Green
4. Find a pillow that properly supports your head and neck to help prevent painsomnia.
I researched a new pillow to help with chronic pain. Although I am mostly a side sleeper, there are times it helps to sleep on my back for a while. I chose the Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow, which is highly rated for all sleep positions. I love it!
Dosaze Contoured Orthopedic Pillow, Neck Pillows for Pain Relief Sleeping, Cervical Memory Foam Pillow, Ergonomic Orthopedic Sleeping Neck Support Pillow for Side Sleepers Back and Stomach (White)
5. Choose a soft blanket to cuddle, which will help you fall asleep.
One final element you might consider upgrading is your blanket. In my case, I already had a lightweight, soft blanket. I keenly remember purchasing it. I was one of several customers in the blanket aisle. I was surprised that I was the only one opening up the packages to feel the blanket. I’ve always loved soft textures. I was looking for the softest blanket in the store, regardless of color and cost. Don’t be afraid to open the packages, they make them with zippers for a reason!
Nestl Fleece Blanket - Bed Blankets Queen Size - Soft Fuzzy Blanket - Lightweight Queen Blanket for Bed - Cut Plush Blanket - Teal Queen Size Blanket - 90x90 Inches
All this cost me a bit, but it was worth every penny. The best part is that I not only sleep better, but have less pain during the day. Win-win!
Need more ideas? Check out our article on things to help you sleep when you have a chronic illness.
What are your favorite bedding accessories to help stop painsomnia?
Share your experiences with our chronic pain community in the comments.
Image via Deposit Photos