Just before bed last night my ear got sliced. You don’t want to know how I did it, because it’s so stupid...but, okay, I’ll tell you anyway. There was a lizard on the ceiling. I held up the cat so that she could catch it. When the lizard fell, the cat went after it. On her way down she accidentally cut my ear with her claw. It was a real doozy. It didn’t entirely cut through my ear, but it was somewhat deep. I showed my husband, who looked at my wound and said, “I don’t think that’s going to heal on its own.” Off we went to Urgent Care. It turns out they were not able to close it but they did give me a tetanus shot (yep - a tetanus shot) and 10 days of antibiotics. Who knew that cat scratches had a possibility of being so serious?
Shortly after we got home from urgent care, we needed to go to sleep. I was told by the doctor that it was preferable to leave this wound uncovered, but I could use bandages if I needed or wanted to. Seeing as I didn’t want to get any blood on my pillow, I put a Band-Aid on it and I covered my pillow with a towel JUST in case. Even though my ear didn’t hurt all that much, I was kept awake with concerns about the Band-Aid coming off and the potential consequences. It didn’t help that the Band-Aid felt awkward across my ear. I slept better than I thought that I would, but my sleep was far from ideal. This leads me to the question, how does one sleep when injured?
There are a myriad of body parts with a myriad of things that can go wrong with them, and potentially cause pain, discomfort, or other issues that can interrupt your sleep. For example, I know when my husband has a headache that he is unable to sleep. I also know that when my GERD (acid reflux) is acting up, sleep is harder to attain.
Probably one of the most common body aches that affects sleep is back pain. Your spine is located so centrally in your body and utilized for an extreme number of movements, it’s no wonder that aches, pains, and problems associated with it happen so frequently. Back pain can be prompted by automobile, sports, or other accidents, but can also arouse from lifting items improperly, doing a repetitive motion, and even poor posture.
When you have pain or discomfort, such as back pain, how are you to get any sleep? There are a few things you can do to make the quality of your sleep better when you aren’t feeling one hundred percent:
- Get a good mattress - Whether it’s back or other pain you are experiencing, you need to make sure that you are laying on a mattress that supports your body properly. You should not just do this when you are injured, but every day your body requires proper support. This means that investing money into a mattress with proper support is always money well spent. While you are at it, don’t forget that by adorning your mattress with cozy pillows, sheets, or maybe even adding a comfort item can often help to bring you some ease.
- Get an appropriate pillow - Maybe get two. Different pains necessitate different pillow types. For example, if you have a headache or even a toothache, elevating your head will decrease blood flow there, which can help lessen pain. Adjustable pillows are a great option to let you go from firm to soft (or the reverse, or back again). If you have lower back pain, then maybe a pillow beneath your legs is what your body needs.
- Get in position - Depending on your pain, you might find that a different sleep position from your norm might help you to find comfort. You may even find that sleeping in a more upright position is more comfortable while you are feeling woe. Don’t worry if you don’t have an adjustable bed, because sleeping on the couch or recliner may be just what you need.
Whatever injury or pain you are experiencing, I hope you heal from it soon. And I hope you use these easy tips to get better sleep while you are hurting.