Healthy people sleep better, and that’s the fact. On the other hand, sleep problems and chronic pain seem to go hand in hand. People with chronic or any kind of pain have difficulties to fall asleep.
Moreover, even when they fall asleep no one can guarantee that they will have a peaceful and restless night. A night of bad sleep will leave you tired even the following day.
Therefore, it is important to know how to make sure to have a good night sleep even when you are in pain.
Sleep Is A Key Indicator Of Overall Health
There are a few indicators that can point out certain health conditions, like skin or eyes, but nothing beats a good sleep when it comes to showing overall health.
If you are not sure if you are sleeping for the adequate number of hours, you should know how much sleep you need by age, especially if you are a college student lacking his sleep, or a teenager fighting sleep deprivation.
Once you have learned how much sleep you need and you simply don’t meet those standards, you should change or create new sleeping habits. Because no one can experience the long or short duration of sleep without a specific reason behind is.
Moreover, if you are missing on your sleep you are actually missing on your life because the quality of life is tightly linked with the quality of your sleep, and of course health. Therefore, sleep and health are deeply intertwined.
So, if the health is linked with sleep, does it mean that sleep can be responsible for pain, or the pain may lead to poor sleep? Shorty said, yes. Moreover, in most cases, a lack of sleep is a reliable predictor of chronic pain.
Lack Of Sleep Is A Reliable Predictor Of Chronic Pain
Sleep is deeply connected with our health, meaning that it’s linked with any form of happiness or pain that we are experiencing.
That being said, we have to point that sleep and pain have a reciprocal relationship, meaning that lack of sleep actually predicts chronic pain. Pain preventing sleep is a serious issue that can have extremely serious health outcomes.
Moreover, good sleeping habits and sleep hygiene will help you determine how your body deals with chronic pain.
Sleep And Pain
Whether the pain is coming from a beating tooth or lower back pain, the inevitable fact is that it’s hard to deal with pain in the light of day. Moreover, it is even more challenging to deal with pain during the night, especially when you were hoping for more than a needed night of good sleep. In most cases, people don’t experience sleeplessness when they first experience pain.
But, as the pain becomes a problem, it can be a wicked cycle. Moreover, if someone experiences poor sleep due to pain one night, he is more likely to experience more problems the next night and so on. Basically, the pain gets worse each night. Furthermore, pain triggers poor sleep. For example, if someone is experiencing lower back pain he may experience several intense changes in the sleep state, or simply said microarousals, that will make you awake often.
In addition, microarousals are painless if the person is not experiencing chronic pain. Pain is a serious intrusion to sleep and in most cases, it’s connected with insomnia and similar conditions. In some cases, they may be difficult to treat.
How Does Pain Affect Sleep?
Generally speaking, pain brings together two concerns – poor health and stress, as the main indicators of short sleep and bad sleep quality. So, simply said, pain is a key factor in the gap between the amount of sleep people are getting and the amount of sleep that they need.
In average, people with pain are missing a minimum of 45 minutes every single night. Multiply that by 7 days a week, plus the hours the following day when you are missing on energy and you will get a significant amount of time that you missed without a sleep.
So, when it comes to people who live with chronic pain the situation is rather diverse, as the sleep quality depends on the illness severity. People with chronic pain suffer from the restless night for hours, or they simply have difficulties falling asleep. In addition, a significant number of those with chronic pain experience a high-stress level, while people without chronic pain don’t have so many stressful moments.
Moreover, people with chronic or acute pain problems, have not only sleeping issues but problems with each aspect in their life. Therefore, they may experience difficulties at work, mood change, and fall down when it comes to activities, enjoyment, and relationship overall.
In addition, people with pain also feel like they don’t have any control over their sleep, and experience and show enormous sleep sensitivity.
Different Types Of Sleep-Related Pain
Pain disorders that infringe on sleep are many and may diverse from person to person. However, there are a few pain-related conditions that are defined.
- Chronic pain – this condition usually lasts more than six months and incurs additional pain on top of the original injury. The most common chronic pain condition are: arthritis, nocturia, pinched nerves, restless leg syndrome, and sleep apnea.
- Back Pain – this is one of the most common pains in the States when it comes to the health of working Americans. The causes may range from ruptured discs to muscle strain.
- Neck Pain – this can occur due to a variety of factors, such as narrowing of the spinal canal, disc degeneration, and arthritis. If you are suffering from this condition you should pick a memory foam pillow to ease the stress of your neck.
- Hip Pain – the most common cause of chronic hip pain is osteoarthritis. This happens, in most cases, due to inflammation of the joints and can cause severe pain, swelling, and stiffness. Moreover, sleeping with hip pain is extremely challenging as you can’t find the perfect position for sleep.
- Arthritis – over 50 million adults suffer from some type of arthritis. Also, the most common symptoms include decreased range of motion, stiffness, swelling, and pain.
- Diabetic Nerve Pain – this condition may cause different problems with your digestive system, heart, and blood vessels. In addition, you can experience numbness and pain in your leg area.
- Migraines/Headaches – millions of people suffer from migraines or headaches on a daily level. Migraines can cause nausea, vertigo, fatigue, and severe head throbbing. Also with migraines, you can feel the pain for a number of days, while some people can’t remember when they spend a week without strong migraines. If you are suffering from this condition you should avoid by any means night cup unless you are drinking a tea to boost your sleep. Also, drink water before you go to sleep, it will help you relax.
- REM Pain – is the paradoxical moment in your sleep when your neurons and brain parts act as your brain is awake. There are even some claimed that REM is responsible for storing memories, and it’s responsible for vivid dreams. However, it yet has to be confirmed.
- Bad Bed And Pillow – having proper sleeping accessories is a base of good sleep, so if you don’t have a proper bed and a pillow, you may experience bed sleep every single night. Simply said, a good mattress and a pillow does wonder (reduces pressure on the neck, promotes spinal alignment, reduces pressure on the hips, shoulders and even lumbar region of the lower back).
In addition, there are certain types of pain (like hip pain) that can heavily influence your sleep position. And you know just how important it is to have a comfortable sleep position and be comfortable during the night. Moreover, doctors are constantly pointing out how muscle pain and joints result in problems staying asleep, rather than falling asleep.
Dealing With Sleep-Related Pain
Getting help for your pain is the first step to diagnosing your pain disorder. Although it may feel like a daunting task from time to time you may not lose your focus and willingness to be better. In addition, by any means, you shouldn’t self-diagnose, but you should contact your doctor and discuss your symptoms. This will give you a better insight on understanding your condition and the root cause.
Physical therapists are licensed and trained to maintain, develop and maximize your ability and movement. Moreover, when you visit a physical therapist they will examine your needs, set a diagnose, and even create an adequate plan for therapy and necessary intervention.
In addition, a physical therapist can help you with matters that are linked with sports injuries or similar. The great thing about this support system is that you can find a therapist in different hospitals, private practices, gyms, research centers and so on.
Luckily, there are even some insurance companies that may cover treatments depending on your provider, and of course nature and timing of the injury.
For some conditions, medicine can help, and in those cases, over-the-counter pain relief drugs can do wonders. Moreover, some medicine, like aspirin and acetaminophen can be self-administrated. In addition, aspirin can help you with:
When it comes to Acetaminophen the most common use is seen in pain conditions like:
- Menstrual cramps
- Muscle aches
- Sore throats
However, although you can freely buy these medicine you should always consult your doctor on proper dosage. After all, you don’t want to experience side effects, especially if you have other health conditions, or you are already taking other medications. In addition, you should talk to your physician if you feel the need to treat your chronic pain in additional ways.
Your physician will know any possible side effects and if there is a real need for specific medications and dosage. Moreover, your doctor will know the potential for addiction as well.
Pain Relief Resources
If you are still looking for pain relief resources that may help you and set you back on the right track you may check these resources:
- American Chronic Pain Association
- International Association for the Study of Pain
- U.S. Pain Foundation
- Everyday Health resources for managing chronic pain
What You Can Do At Home?
Also, there are a few things that you do at home and manage by yourself. The first step is forever important – sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene is crucial for achieving a good night’s sleep.
There is no one-cure-fits-all approach as each pain is extremely individual and treated differently. However, there are few steps can you can easily implement, ease your pain and improve your sleep.
Follow the listed steps and take your sleeping experience to a different level:
- Stop or limit night cap, including caffeine consumption. Ideally, you should think about stop drinking caffeine completely.
- Limit alcohol intake, especially at night.
- Use pain killers only under the supervision of a physician.
- Practice diverse relaxation techniques.
- Practice deep abdominal breathing on a regular daily base.
Prioritizing Sleep Helps People With Chronic Pain
Living with chronic pain makes every day difficult and challenging, especially when you can’t have a restful night of peaceful sleep. Therefore, making your sleep a priority should help. Otherwise, you will have enormous sleep debt, and the greater the level of pain, the greater the sleep debt.
So, if you are in pain and the pain bothers your sleep, you should take proactive steps to protect your sleep. That being said, sleep should be your priority number one. Although, you can’t always affect your pain you can affect your sleeping surrounding. Incorporate these three steps in order to have better sleep and smaller sleep debt.
Set A Healthy Bedtime Routine
Create a habit of sleeping. Make sure to set start time for your nightly bedtime routine at least 30 minutes before bed. That means that you should avoid any distractions, and you should put away work, electronics, and avoid anything that could cause stress. You can take a long bath or do light yoga to clear up your mind.
Have Proper Sleep Environment
People that experience pain may be sensitive to factors like light, temperature, noise and even mattress quality. So, if you are in pain you should be an environment that’s specially designed based on your needs. You can use white noise, keep electronics out of the bedroom, have set the perfect sleeping temperature, darkened shades of curtains and any other favor that can make your sleep better.
Relax Your Mind
Pain is commonly linked with higher stress levels, and people with pain say that they have less control over their sleep and worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health. So, try to not go frustrated to sleep and use different relaxation technique or breathing exercise to keep your worries balances. If you approach each day with a commitment to sleep well, you will have the best opportunity to reach sleep needs.
Pain And Sleep – Prevention
Just like in any other health-related area prevention is possible. So, when pain is first experienced most people do not experience sleeplessness immediately. Moreover, if someone experiences poor sleep due to pain one night, she or he is more likely to experience more problems the following night and so on.
Basically, it gets worse every night. Also, we know that pain triggers poor sleep. For example, if someone is experiencing lower back pain, he or she will experience numerous awakenings. So, pain is a serious intrusion to sleep. In addition, pain is often associated with insomnia and similar problems that may be difficult to treat. Moreover, one problem can often lead to another one and so on.
If pain causes sleep problems and you are not able to fall asleep again and it happens on a regular basis, you should find a sleep professional and start with proper treatment.
Pain And Sleep – Key Takeaways
Finding a balance or a solution for pain and sleep isn’t a straightforward or easy solution. Actually, how you decide to approach this problem depends on an accurate diagnosis, implementing proper and good sleep hygiene based on your needs, and moreover finding the right treatment. Luckily, there is a number of different methods that you can find and try to help yourself for a better night’s sleep.
So, make sure that your mattress and pillows meet your need and that you have set a proper sleeping environment. Make sure that you have a sleeping routine that will help you relaxed your mins. A relaxed mind will help you relieve your pain as well.