Sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but many people develop bad sleep habits that inhibits the appropriate quality and time of rest. A good night’s sleep is especially important for people who suffer from illnesses, injuries and conditions that cause chronic pain. There are many ways in which we sabotage our own sleep. Drinking caffeine too late in the day or exercising at night can rev the body and mind, making it difficult to get to sleep and stay asleep. Not sticking to a sleep schedule can also make for inadequate rest and chronic sleepiness. Some people even associate sleep and pain together, due to muscle discomfort through the night. It’s also important to sleep in a dark room without distractions. That means turning off the computer, TV and radio.
Issues with Sleep and Pain Could be Caused by Stress
The body operates on a circadian cycle, a daily rhythm regulated by the brain. Things that influence this cycle include sleep, body temperature and alertness. This means that what we do and what we consume during a day can affect the way we sleep at night. Sleep disruption is common for chronic pain sufferers, and medications used to treat this pain may also interfere with sleep cycles. Sleep that is non-restorative can lead to drowsiness, low energy, depression, accidents and increased pain.
Sleep and pain symptoms, can be largely affected by our psychological state. It may be very difficult for people who are depressed, anxious and stressed to sleep. Lifestyle factors also play a role. People who smoke, drink alcohol, take drugs or have a poor diet may also experience unhealthy periods of sleeplessness. Researchers say that poor sleep could lead to an increase in pain or a lowering of the pain threshold. This could cause an intensifying of pain.
Improving your Sleep
Rest is so important for our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. There are many important tips for people who want to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. It’s important to create an environment that promotes a good night’s sleep. You can do this by sleeping in a dark room, without distraction or noise. This room should be at a comfortable temperature – not too hot and not too cold. Wearing comfortable clothing is also important. If you sleep with a partner who snores, you may want to consider sleeping in another room. Naps should also be limited if you want to get a restful sleep at night. It can also be helpful to get on a sleep schedule – going to bed at the same time each night and waking around the same time. Physical activity is important to sleep, so daily exercise will help. People should exercise several hours before bed so they’re not over stimulated at bedtime.
There are plenty of things that people can do before bed to relax. This could include:
- Deep breathing
- Guided imagery
- Listening to music
- Watching TV
There are medications that can help, but many have strange or unpleasant side effects and patients can come to depend on them.