Pain often keeps one from getting proper nights sleep and the sleeplessness makes the pain worse, it’s a vicious cycle.
Studies have reported that 50%-80% of patients with chronic pain do not get proper sleep.
Poor sleep also affects your mood by increasing depression which worsens your pain.
Pain often disrupts the normal sleep cycle causing one not get enough deep and REM sleep which are important parts of the sleep cycle. They are vital in order to get a good nights rest. Chronic pain patients are known to have microarousals that affect their overall sleep. These microarousals often do not affect non chronic pain patients.
Some pain medications can increase sleep disturbances, however other pain medications can aid in a good nights sleep, therefore it is important to discuss with your doctor your pain medications if you have poor sleep.
Undiagnosed sleep apnea can sometimes be the cause of poorly controlled pain. If you suspect you might have sleep apnea consult with your doctor. Treating sleep apnea can often improve your quality of life.
Making proper sleep a priority in your management goals is very important.
Some important tips to help improve your sleep include:
- Review your pain medications to with your doctor to see if any of the medications you are taking could be affecting your sleep.
- Avoid stimulants at night such as caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine
- Avoid watching TV in bed, and try to make your bedroom a sleep friendly environment. Consider using ear plugs, eye mask, and a colder room temperature.
- Create a routine of relaxation before your bed time. Don’t do high activity things before bed; instead consider things such as reading a book, taking a hot bath, and using relaxation techniques.
- Don’t let you mind wonder on the day’s event, focus on one non-stressful thought. Often counting sheep can be very effective in getting your mind off a stressful day.
- If you take naps take them early and avoid long late afternoon naps.
- Review your diet as a balanced diet can help induce a more good and natural sleep.
- Keep a diary of your sleep habits and consider consulting with a sleep specialist if these simple tips do not help you get proper nights sleep.