Chronic Pain and Sleep Loss | Remedies and Tips to Help
Chronic Pain and Sleep Loss – Chances are if you experience chronic pain you have experienced sleep loss at some point. You may have found yourself tossing and turning or waking up several times a night in pain. You know if you could sleep you may feel better, but it seems as though your pain has no off switch. I know so many of us have felt this way and are desperate for a good nights sleep. Dealing with this type of unrelenting pain often becomes a thief and can rob us of a good nights sleep. So after researching this topic, here is what I have found.
According to Web MD “Pain and sleep are integrally connected. Chronic pain is very common in the population and even more common in people who have poor sleep, and it sort of becomes a vicious cycle. Pain affects your ability to sleep, and the lack of sleep makes the pain seem worse.”
According to Spine Health’s article states those who report experiencing chronic pain (about 15% of the general U.S. population and 50% of the elderly), approximately 65% report having sleep disorders, such as disrupted or non-restorative sleep.
That’s a lot of us struggling for a good nights sleep leaving us sleepy all day long and craving naps. It also can affect our moods, resulting in a lot of highs to lows. Our body produces five stages of sleep. 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Most chronic pain patients have great difficulty reaching this crucial REM stage. In order to feel rested, you need enough of stage 3 and REM sleep. If your symptoms wake you up, you have to go through stages 1 and 2 again just to get to those restorative stages. So you end up having less sleep time in those stages. That may exacerbate pain and contribute to feeling out of sorts, moody, anxious, or even depressed. No wonder we are feeling horrible all around!
There are several suggestions online about what may help you achieve that ultimate goal…sleep. There’s the obvious like talking to your doctor about sleep medication or switching you mattress and buying new pillows. You could also change your diet so that there is no sugar or caffeine after a certain time. You could go and take TV’s or electronics out of your room (On flare days I stay in bed so I don’t know if I would do that one). Another thing you could try is to set a scheduled bedtime for yourself. All these sound great, but don’t exactly cater to the needs of a chronic pain patient.
Here are some tips I have personally found helpful:
Check your medication side effects. Some prescription medications can actually contribute to insomnia. Cortisone, a steroid used for inflammation, is a drug that can keep you awake. If you believe your medications may be interfering with your sleep, talk to your doctor about it.
Try different treatments to get your pain under control. Your chronic pain treatments will depend on what is causing the pain in the first place. Medications, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, and even surgery are all used to help treat various forms of chronic pain. Talking to your doctor is a great idea he/she may be able to increase your nightly medication to help you sleep.
Try a warm bath an hour before bed. This can help relax the muscles and ultimately get you to sleep faster. Mixed with a cup of Epsom Salts, which is filled with Magnesium may do just the trick.
Try Lavender Oil. Lavender oil promotes sleep and calmness, whether you apply a few drops on the soles of your feet, put a few drops on a tissue and then put the tissue under your pillow, or use a diffuser. This pleasant smelling oil can help. This oil varies on price, just try to look for pure lavender oil. I personally use Young Living Oils, but I hear doTerra Oils are good too.
I hope some of these ideas can help with your chronic pain and sleep loss. I know it can become a stressful thing when all you want to do is sleep and can not.
What have you found helpful and what worked for you? Please leave a comment in the section below.
**All comments are used for our own personal interest and not to replace or provide medical advice.**
If you know someone who would like this article please share it with them.