Winning the Battle Between Sleep and Pain

sleep and pain1Regardless of what ailment lands you in a doctor’s office one of the first questions any physician asks is ‘How have you been sleeping?’.  Getting enough sleep is almost as important as eating right and getting daily exercise.  Without the right amount of rest and the right kind of rest, our bodies simply don’t function as well as they should.

When an individual is dealing with chronic pain of any kind, whether joint pain or some other musculoskeletal pain, the contributing factor that first beckons attention is usually an injury or pre-existing condition as the cause.  More and more individuals are discovering that a lack of proper sleep is contributing to their daily or even to their occasional pain.

The relationship between sleep and pain is cyclic.  When a person is experiencing chronic pain, they usually can’t sleep well and when a person doesn’t get enough sleep, the pain worsens.  It can be a never ending cycle of discomfort that leaves patients staring at the ceiling wishing for relief and waking to discover that they never really slept at all.

When we lay down to rest at night we move through a series of different levels of sleep.  There is light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep.  We move through these 3 different levels of sleep about 3 to 5 times in a night.  Pain interrupts these sleep cycles.  Whether you suffer from shooting pains or from constant low level discomfort pain, it can interfere with your sleep cycle bringing you out of deep sleep and back into light sleep or even causing you to wake up completely at various times throughout the night.  In many cases, the chronic pain only interrupts our deep sleep and we don’t remember waking at all, only the feeling of not “really sleeping”.  Either way, your body isn’t getting the amount of sleep it needs.

Not getting enough sleep can add new pain on top of your already existing pain.  Not getting a good night’s rest can cause headaches, back pain, TMJ, contribute to Arthritis, nerve pain, cramping and more.  There are even extensive studies into the connection between Fibromyalgia and sleep deprivation.

How can you break the connection between sleep and pain?

sleep and painAs long as your pain exists, it is going to be a bit tougher to get the rest you need, but following healthy sleeping practices is a great way to get on the track towards sleeping well with pain.  For starters you should cut out caffeine and alcohol from your diet.  It can be a struggle to get through the first days of life without caffeine and/or life without alcohol, but ultimately caffeine drinks are interfering with your sleeping and waking patterns and elimination of these will restore your natural sleeping patterns.

Keeping the intense exercise for the morning and only do moderate evening exercises will help to you back on the right sleeping schedule.  While exercise is great and you the more you get the better, intense exercise that stimulates a lot of adrenaline can actually keep you awake more at night as your body is pumped up and ready to go.  Try an evening walk or light jog instead.

Afternoon naps may seem like a great idea, but avoiding napping is actually the better path to some real sleep.  No matter how tired you might be, the more you sleep during the day, the less you are likely to sleep at night.  It is best if you relax before bed and make sure that your bedroom is a calm sleeping place.  Don’t allow your sleeping space to become a drop off spot for miscellaneous household items like laundry and toys.  Take out the television and just make a quiet space for resting.  If you are in bed and can’t sleep, get out of bed and do something.  Reading a book is a great way to occupy your mind and tire out your eyes and naturally drift off into sleep.

You will find little argument about the connection between sleep and pain and the serious problem it can become.  Chronic pain can throw your entire life out of balance in a matter of days.  There are several medications that can assist in relieving pain to allow sufferers to get solid rest as well.  No medications, even over the counter medicines should be ingested without consulting your physician.

If you are interested in relieving your chronic pain, we encourage you to contact our office to see if Primal Reflex Release could be the answer to your pain.  One quick consultation and you could be on your way to sleeping pain free in as little as one session.  Call today to find out if PRRT can break the connection between pain and sleep for you.