Diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain is often experienced as a tingling, burning, or stabbing pain in the feet, legs, hands, and arms. Dealing with these sensations can make life difficult during the day — but at night? It can make your life downright unbearable.
Why is diabetic neuropathy worse at night? If you’ve been wondering why your pain seems to flare up just when you’re settling down for some rest, we have the answer. Keep reading to discover why neuropathy makes nights harder and what you can do to help combat diabetic neuropathy pain.
Why diabetic neuropathy pain fluctuates
Neuropathy — or nerve damage — occurs when a nerve or group of nerves becomes damaged and can no longer do the job it's supposed to. When this happens, you may experience anything from pins-and-needles feelings to a total loss of sensation, depending on the stage of neuropathy you’re in.
Even if you feel like you have a good handle on your neuropathy during the day, it may feel more painful at night. But what makes diabetic neuropathy worse? There are several potential causes for nighttime neuropathy flare-ups, including:
- No distractions. With nothing else to keep your mind occupied, you’re more likely to focus on uncomfortable and painful neuropathy symptoms.
- Temperature or touch sensitivity. Hypersensitivity is a common symptom of neuropathy, and it can make sleeping especially difficult. If you’re feeling too hot or too cold or can’t stand the sensation of a blanket on your skin, it will be much harder to relax and fall asleep.
- Stress. Anxiety, stress, and other negative emotions can keep you up at night. They can also exacerbate your pain by making muscles tense, releasing cortisol (which can lead to inflammation), and causing your brain to interpret pain signals more potently.
- Certain medications. While pain relief medications may help your neuropathy during the day, sometimes the timing or dosing can make nighttime neuropathy pain feel worse. This is especially true if your neuropathy medications are short-acting.
How to control diabetic neuropathy pain: Our top 8 tips
If diabetic peripheral neuropathy pain is keeping you up at night, you’re likely ready to try anything to make it stop. If you're curious about what helps diabetic neuropathy pain, we’ve compiled some quick and easy things that you can do to help control nighttime neuropathy flare-ups.
- Ask your doctor about oral or topical medications that can combat burning, numbness, or tingling. If you’re already taking medication for neuropathy, talk to your doctor about adjusting doses and timing.
- Practice relaxation techniques to minimize stress and relax your body. These can include meditating, deep breathing, listening to gentle music, taking a warm bath, or enjoying some time in nature.
- Watch your diet. Eating or drinking high-caffeine or high-sugar foods close to bedtime may make it more difficult to fall asleep.
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control. Monitor your blood glucose levels closely and try to keep them within an acceptable range (80-130 mg/dL before meals, 180 mg/dL after meals).
- Try a new sleeping position. Sometimes lying a certain way can pinch or put pressure on your nerves and make neuropathy worse. You may want to try sleeping with a pillow between your knees or sleeping on your side.
- Change the temperature. Along with other foot problems, diabetes can cause hypersensitivity to temperature and touch, especially in the feet and legs. It might be helpful to adjust your room temperature (whether cooler or warmer) until you feel more comfortable.
- Move your body. Regular exercise can help improve nerve function, reduce inflammation, and increase blood flow to the affected areas. This increased blood flow can help prevent the development of diabetic sores on feet, which are a significant concern for people with neuropathy. Exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight, which is important for reducing the risk of complications associated with diabetes. It is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of exercise to avoid overexertion and injury.
- Develop a soothing sleep routine. Having a sleep routine in place can help signal your body that it's time to rest. You should try to start and end your routine at the same time every day. You may also want to include some of the following in your routine:
- Turn off screens at least an hour before bed.
- Read a book, listen to gentle music, or wind down another way.
- Practice good personal hygiene (e.g., brush your teeth, wash your face, etc.).
- Check your blood glucose levels.
- Take a moment to journal or talk to someone about your day.
If you try these tips and are still experiencing neuropathy pain at night, it may be time for diabetic neuropathy treatment. The doctor can help you determine the root cause of your neuropathy and create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Shop Viasox online today for easy pain relief — both day and night
Here’s a bonus tip to aid with nighttime diabetic peripheral neuropathy flare-ups: invest in a good pair of non-binding diabetic socks to help your blood circulate.Visit Viasox online today to shop our range of diabetic socks and compression socks to help protect your feet and fend off neuropathy pain both day and night. Our socks are available in a wide range of colors, lengths, patterns, and styles to ensure that you’ll find something that fits your needs, no matter what they are.