Your Sleeping Habits May Be Causing You Pain

Your Sleeping Habits May Be Causing You Pain

Going to sleep should be a calm, relaxing end to your day. Your bedroom should be a sanctuary that acts as a tool to recharge and revive allowing your body to repair and regenerate. Yet, you could be doing more harm than good as poor sleeping habits may be causing you pain. So much so that some simple fixes may be all you need to avoid unnecessary conventional intervention such as pharmaceutical drugs.

The Setup

It is estimated that you will sleep a third of your lifetime. With this much of your existence dedicated to shutting down, you may be doing yourself a disservice before you even crawl into bed.

A compromised bedroom setup may not only reduce your ability to get a good night’s sleep but it could lead to waking pain which you or even your doctor may not be able to pinpoint. Therefore, putting extra effort into your sleeping space is the first step to avoiding unnecessary minor discomfort or something more serious like chronic neck, back or joint pain.

According to experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as reported by WebMD,

“Think of a bedroom as a cave: It should cool, quiet, and dark. (Bats follow this logic and are champion sleepers, getting in 16 hours a day.) Be wary of memory foam pillows, which feel good because they conform closely to your body shape — but may make you too hot. And put socks on your feet, as cold feet, in particular, can be very disruptive to sleep.”

Eliminate light

It may look nice in the movies when a full moon shines through a bedroom window but shutting out as much light as possible will kick in your melatonin (sleep hormone) production much more. This also includes putting away all electronic devices which, when used in bed, the flickering blue light actually stimulates the brain into thinking it is still day and your melatonin is adversely affected.

Invest in the Best

Your mattress, sheets, pillows, blankets and or comforters should be of the highest caliber material. This means organic cottons and solid construction that ensures your body will embrace rather than spend time tossing and turning to get comfortable.

In a study published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine,

“Based on this data, it was concluded that, in this population, new bedding systems increased sleep quality and reduced back discomfort, factors that may be related to abatement of stress-related symptoms.”


The slightest change in temperature can throw off an entire night’s sleep causing muscle contraction, teeth grinding and more.

According to H. Craig Heller, PhD, professor of biology at Stanford University as reported by WebMD,

“When you go to sleep, your set point for body temperature — the temperature your brain is trying to achieve — goes down,…think of it as the internal thermostat. If it’s too cold, or too hot, the body struggles to achieve this set point.”

According to Dr. Rachel Salas, MD, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in sleep medicine, [and] a National Sleep Foundation study [] Mens Health reports the best sleeping temperature puts the magic number at 65 degrees.

Position Yourself for Healthy Sleeping

There are a variety of sleeping positions that have been linked to body pain. Avoiding these may enable you to reverse pain and heal yourself while sleeping. However, depending on your level of pain, you could need additional help such as physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, chiropractic and/or a body awareness practice such as yoga, tai chi, etc.

  • Back Pain – Stop sleeping on your stomach and train yourself to sleep on your back with a small pillow under your head and your knees.
  • Neck Pain – Stop sleeping on your side and train yourself to sleep on your back with a small pillow under your head and two small pillows under your arms.
  • Shoulder Pain – Avoid lying on your stomach or side with your arms under your head. Instead, sleep on your back with a small pillow under your head.
  • Snoring – You may not consider snoring a habit that causes pain but it has been linked to weight gain, mental fatigue, and cognitive difficulty to name a few. Try sleeping on your side with a pillow under your head and neck. If snoring continues see your doctor as you may need a CPAP machine to help retrain yourself to breathe.
  • Leg Cramps – Restless leg syndrome is a real condition that may keep you up at night writhing in pain. Make sure you are hydrated as muscles can cramp when dehydrated (avoid too much salt which is dehydrating); try small doses of magnesium and potassium to calm soft tissue; massage your legs and try stretching before bed.
  • Bruxism – This is the technical term for teeth grinding. If have a sleeping partner who doesn’t notice the unmistakable sound of grinding, a trip to the dentist will certainly show a wearing away of your teeth. Wearing a mouth guard will help stop bruxism and possibly relieve headaches, a common associated symptom.

Try to assess your sleeping habits as well as your sleeping space to reduce pain and get more shut eye. It may be the easiest fix to pain problems that have been nagging you for too long.