Sleeping with varicose veins can be a difficult task. If you're not used to it, the extra pressure on your legs can be extremely uncomfortable and you may find it hard to get to sleep. However, there are a few things you can do to make sleeping with varicose veins a bit easier. In this blog post, we'll discuss some of those tips. So, if you're struggling to get comfortable at night, keep reading!
Why do varicose veins hurt most at night?
Varicose veins are caused by a condition called chronic venous insufficiency, which is when the tiny, one-way vein valves begin to malfunction.
People with varicose veins, especially those that are severe, tend to experience a lot of different symptoms. Some common ones include leg cramping, swelling in the ankles and feet, heaviness in the legs, pain when walking or standing for long periods of time, and fatigue.
Many people also report having problems sleeping through the night because they'll feel aching, have restless leg syndrome (RLS), or experience sharp pain when they're laying down. So, why do varicose veins hurt most at night? Well, the answer is simple. Think about it: during the day there's usually something keeping pressure off of your legs as you walk, you sit, and you stand up. All three of these activities will reduce the discomfort caused by varicose veins.
However, when you go to bed, the pressure on your legs causes blood to pool in your legs and all that blood puts a lot of pressure on the walls of your veins, which may increase pain and discomfort.
How can I prevent varicose veins from hurting at night?
Depending on the severity of chronic venous insufficiency, there are a few things you can do to prevent varicose veins from hurting at night.
- If you have mild CVI, try to see if exercise will help alleviate the symptoms caused at night
- If you have to stand or walk for long periods of time, take breaks often and try to give your legs some rest
- Wear compression stockings to alleviate pressure on your vein wall
- Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day to help keep your veins healthy.
What should I do when varicose veins cause leg pain at night?
There are several things that can help reduce or even eliminate the pain caused by varicose veins at night, but it is suggested that before you do anything it's important to consult your doctor first to make sure that they don't have any concerns about what you're doing.
- Compress with hot water. Hot water will loosen up your muscles so they don't tighten up while you're laying down which will allow blood to flow more easily throughout the veins in your legs. As a result, the pressure on your legs will be reduced and it'll reduce or even eliminate that painful feeling.
- Go for a walk. A good way to maintain healthy circulation is by going for a walk, if your varicose veins are causing pain when you're trying to sleep, then why not get out of bed and go for a walk around the block to help improve blood circulation.
- Take medicine inflammation: If you're experiencing inflammation from the varicose veins, taking an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen can help to reduce the inflammation and the pain that comes along with it.
- Talk to your doctor. If you're having a lot of trouble sleeping because of the pain, talk to your doctor. You may find that your condition can be solved by eliminating the problem veins that are causing the issue.
How to sleep well with varicose veins?
There are many problems caused by varicose veins, and one of the most common that we know is the difficulty to get a good night's sleep. Here are 12 tips you can do to help you get a good sleep without feeling the symptoms:
1. Elevate your legs and use an elevation pillow
You can alleviate pressure in your legs by propping yourself up with pillows under both legs or elevating your legs using books or boxes. Just make sure you elevate them high enough so that there's no compression on your veins. You can also proactively put pillows or cushions underneath your knees to keep the blood flowing where it should be going.
2. Wear compression stockings
Another great way to help reduce the pain and discomfort is by wearing compression stockings. These specially designed stockings will put pressure around your legs, ankles, and feet which will help to get better blood flow throughout your body. This is especially helpful in improving circulation where varicose veins tend to congregate, such as the backs of your calves and ankles. Just make sure to wear them during the day as well because it can be helpful even if you're not sleeping.
3. Use a heating pad
If you're finding that elevating your legs and using compression stockings isn't helping, try using a heating pad on your legs before bed. The heat will help to loosen up the muscles and can provide relief from pain.
4. Sleeping on your left side
This might be a tough one for some people, but sleeping on your left side is actually the best way to sleep if you have varicose veins. This is because when you sleep on your left side, the pressure is more evenly distributed on your hips vs. your legs. This may help reduce the chances of getting a blood clot and will also improve blood circulation.
5. Avoid sleeping on Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach may be another cause for feeling uncomfortable when laying down with varicose veins. If you sleep on your belly, it will put pressure on the backs of your legs and may trigger discomfort.
6. Use a foam roller
If you have severe chronic venous insufficiency, it may be a good idea to consult your vein doctor before performing this exercise. However, this is a great way to help work out any kinks or tension in your body before bed. If you have restless legs syndrome, using a foam roller can help to soothe the muscles and help you relax.
7. Take a warm bath or shower before bed
Taking a warm bath or shower before bed will help dilate your blood vessels, which means that more blood can flow through them. This helps reduce swelling and discomfort in your legs, so it's the perfect way to prepare for sleep.
8. Drink milk before bedtime
As long as you don't have a dairy allergy, drinking milk at night may help relax the body and improve muscle contractions. How so? The calcium in milk help muscles work smoothly and be able to relax more easily when they are tense and tight.
9. Gentle stretching exercises
Doing some gentle stretching exercises before bed can also help reduce the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. These exercises will help loosen up your muscles and joints, making it easier to relax and fall asleep. Yoga or Pilates can also be helpful in improving blood circulation and helping you to relax.
10. Avoid drinking too much fluid before bedtime
We all know that drinking a lot of water throughout the day is healthy, but it's even healthier to not drink too much right before you go to bed. Why? Well, because when you lay down and put your legs flat on the bed after drinking a large glass of water right before going to sleep, all of that excess fluid will pool in your lower extremities. If you don't want to wake up in the middle of the night because of pain, it is best not to drink a lot of fluids too close to bedtime.
11. Use maternity pants
If you're pregnant, then wearing maternity pants may help ease your varicose veins. How do maternity pants help with varicose veins? Well, they can work in two ways - they can hold up the extra weight which helps reduce the pressure on the walls of your veins or You can even use them to elevate your legs while you sleep, making it easier to get a good sleep.
12. Stay positive and don't stress
It's not easy to sleep with varicose veins, but that doesn't mean you should stress out about it! Try your best to stay positive and remember that this unpleasant experience won't last forever. Once you're healed up, these tips will become helpful for feeling comfortable when sleeping.
Can dietary changes also help in getting proper sleep while dealing with varicose veins?
Yes, there are some dietary changes that you can make in order to help improve your sleep quality when dealing with varicose veins. For example, eating foods that are high in fiber can help to regulate your bowel movements and reduce constipation, which is a common problem for people who have varicose veins. You should also avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, as they can both disrupt your sleep. Try drinking chamomile tea before bed instead, as it is a natural relaxant that can help you fall asleep easier.
Finally, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, as they are high in antioxidants and nutrients which can help improve your overall health. Including these foods in your diet will help you feel better overall, including when it comes to getting a good night's sleep.
What to do when nothing provides relief and the pain is unbearable?
If you're experiencing a lot of pain and nothing seems to be providing relief, it's best to speak with your doctor. They may be able to prescribe you some medication that can help to reduce the pain and improve your sleep quality. In some cases, surgery may also be needed in order to correct the varicose veins.
Remember to stay positive and don't stress out about it – this experience won't last forever. And if you're looking for some additional tips, be sure to check out our post on home remedies for varicose veins.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to operate varicose veins?
There is no specific way to operate varicose veins. However, there are a few treatment options that your doctor may suggest, such as compression stockings, sclerotherapy, or radiofrequency ablation to close off the vein. It's important to speak with your doctor to find the best solution for you.
How can I tell if my varicose veins are getting worse or not?
If you're concerned about the health of your varicose veins, the best thing to do is talk with your doctor. They can perform an ultrasound or venogram to diagnose and get a closer look to determine if there is any damage or if the veins are worsening. In some cases, you may need to undergo treatment in order to prevent the veins from getting worse.
How to sleep after varicose vein surgery?
To get an accurate answer to the question is to consult with your doctor about specific instructions for sleep after varicose veins surgery. However, in general, you should avoid putting any pressure on the surgical area. This may mean sleeping on your back with several pillows supporting you, or using a recliner to sleep. Again, it is best to talk to your doctor for specific instructions.
How to live with varicose veins?
Living with varicose veins can be difficult, but it is important to remember that there are a few things you can do to make it easier. For example, eat a healthy diet, healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed, keep your legs elevated as much as possible - and also eat plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, as they are high in antioxidants and nutrients which can help improve your overall health.
Varicose veins can certainly make sleeping difficult, but with these tips, you can get the rest you need and feel more comfortable. Try implementing some of these changes into your daily routine, and speak with your doctor if the pain is unbearable.
Our board-certified vein specialists have extensive experience in treating vein disease. Schedule a free vein screening and meet one of our providers for a consultation to learn more about your vein health.