Why is Neuropathy Worse at Night?
The pain, numbness, and tingling sensations that define neuropathy can be disruptive any time of day, but for some people, these uncomfortable symptoms seem to get especially bad at night, particularly when trying to sleep.
If you’ve noticed this pattern, you’re certainly not alone. Onestudy found that patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy reported feeling the most pain between 11pm and 8am.
Why do so many people report having worse neuropathic pain at night?
While scientists don’t have a definitive answer, they do have some theories:
Fewer distractions: There are no meetings, deadlines, or errands to run when it’s nearing bedtime. Because of this, people tend to become more aware of their surroundings, including their body and its sensations. Our attention level can influence how we perceive pain so when we’re more focused on our pain, it can actually increase pain signals.
Cooler temperatures: Those with neuropathy appear to be more sensitive to cooler air. One theory is, damaged nerves might interpret the cooler temperature as pain, which further heightens the symptoms of neuropathy.
Stress:If we experience a stressful event during the day, our sympathetic nervous system can get revved up, which can lead to increased feelings of pain. It can take awhile to unwind from a stressful event so feelings of pain might linger for awhile, even after the event is over.
Medication:Many people take pain medication at the start of their day, which generally wears off by nighttime. It might be necessary to take another dose at nighttime if your morning dose has worn off and you’re having trouble falling asleep due to increased pain.
Whatever the cause of your increased pain, we want to help you reduce it so you can relax and get a good night’s sleep.
Here are four suggestions you can try:
Reduce your stress level
As we mentioned, the stress from your day can cause increased neuropathic pain at night. In order to stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes your body, make yourself a cup of chamomile tea, curl up on the couch, and read a good book or watch your favorite TV show.
You could also take a nice, warm bath with some candles, Epsom salts, and lavender essential oil. Doesn’t that relax your body and mind just thinking about it? Make sure the water isn’t too hot, which could exacerbate symptoms.
Use natural pain relief products
There are some wonderful natural products available that can act as a great standalone remedy for pain relief or as an addition to your medication regiment.
After a long day, try rubbing Aromalief Lavender Hemp Cream on your painful areas to soothe your nerves. This relaxing cream combines anti-inflammatory pain-relieving nutrients with the benefits of aromatherapy to help your body and mind feel better. For a one-two punch, turn the experience into a massage, which can help improve circulation and temporarily reduce your pain so you can drift off to sleep more easily.
As we talked about earlier, there are less distractions at the end of the day—no work or shuffling kids to and from school. However, as the day winds down and there aren’t as many things to occupy your mind, you might notice that your attention starts drifting more and more towards your pain.
Starting a meditation practice is a great way to train your mind to keep its attention off your pain. It’s a very simple exercise: sit in a quiet room in an upright position (you can lay down if that’s more comfortable), set a timer for ten minutes, and inhale and exhale as you normally would. Bring your attention to your breath and follow it as it comes in and out through your nose. Whenever your mind drifts to your pain (or a sound, thought, or other sensation), simply direct your attention back to your breath. Keep doing that until your timer goes off.
By doing this exercise regularly, you’re actually training your mind to bring its attention away from your pain. In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness meditation reduces pain symptomology. Doing a quick meditation before bed is a great way to calm your mind, relax your body, and get your attention off your pain.
Exercise and eat a healthy diet
This tip is more preventative in nature, but it’s very important. Regularly engaging in gentle exercise and eating a healthy diet can help reduce your pain levels over time and help you sleep more soundly. Aim to do some sort of exercise at least three times a week, such as walking or yoga and be sure to eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies. Don’t underestimate the power of movement and nutritious food!
Get a good night’s sleep tonight
These tips might seem simple, but they pack a big punch, especially when you incorporate them regularly into your routine. Give them a try tonight. We hope that they help you unwind and fall into a deep, restful sleep. Sweet dreams!
Aromalief® is a brand of topical pain relievers made in Florida for women with chronic pain by women. It is 97% Naturally-derived, Vegan, and Cruelty-Free.
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Please consult a medical professional prior to using this or any other product for pain relief.