It can be hard to get good sleep when suffering from chronic pain: pain can keep you up at night and lack of sleep can exacerbate pain. Lack of sleep can also increase inflammation.
Inflammation is usually elevated in most chronic conditions – especially autoimmune conditions and good sleep can actually help lower systemic inflammation.
When you wake up in the morning after a night of bad sleep you might experience lower mood. Research shows that low mood can also increase the perception of pain.
How can Yoga help?
Yoga promotes relaxation and can help calm down the nervous system, thus making you fall asleep quicker and promoting better sleep quality. It reduces stress and anxiety, which often makes us overthink and prevent us from falling asleep. Yoga does all of this by supporting parasympathetic activity (the rest and digest part of the nervous system).
In the case of chronic pain, it can soothe muscle stiffness and joint pain, making it easier to find a position to fall asleep in.
What types of yoga help you sleep?
In particular, more gentle, slower types of yoga will help you release stresses and anxiety and finding that parasympathetic state. We should avoid vigorous exercises before sleep as that will have the opposite effect of arousal. Instead, go for such styles as yin yoga or restorative yoga.
Yoga Nidra is also a great tool for your sleep routine. It is a type of meditation technique that will get you into a relaxed, but aware state, while moving you attention through parts of the body. A guided meditation that is geared towards getting relaxed for sleep can also be helpful.
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You can find out more info on how to sleep well in spite of chronic pain here.