Lack of Sleep Often Intensifies Chronic Pain This is typically a time for new year resolutions. For most individuals, this involves exercising and healthy eating, but sleep is equally (if not more) important. One of the best things you can do for yourself this year is to try and get enough rest at night. In fact, did you know that there is a correlation between a lack of rest and pain? Some people stay in bed longer because they are in pain, while others cannot. Pain affects the way a person sleeps and a lack of rest can intensify pain. Individuals who suffer from chronic pain may experience sleep disorders. In fact, pain is one of the causes of insomnia. Sleep disorder symptoms include difficulty falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, waking up early in the morning, restless sleep, and overall dissatisfaction with the quality of sleep. The consistent interruption of sleep triggers a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and increased pain. The less sleep a person gets, the more intense the pain can become.
Strategies for Improved Rest at Night If pain (or any other reason) is affecting the quality of your sleep, start by identifying the cause of the problem. The first step is an assessment of the sleeping environment and lifestyle habits. Here are some questions to answer:
Is the bedroom a quiet place and are all lights switched off? Is there a television or laptop (and associated glare) in the bedroom?
What are you sleeping on? How old is the mattress? Does your pillow provide enough support for your neck and head?
What are you eating and drinking late at night? Are you consuming caffeinated beverages late in the day? Are you eating big meals close to bedtime?
Are you sleeping at the same time every day? Are you avoiding stressful conversations or situations before going to bed?
By facilitating an environment that is quiet and comfortable, you will set the stage for sound sleep.
Don’t Lose Rest Over It If pain is affecting your sleep patterns, physical therapy can play a big role in the recovery process. The combination of pain and lack of sleep creates a vicious cycle that can get progressively worse, if left untreated. Fortunately, a physical therapist can identify the underlying cause of pain and create a plan for lasting pain relief. Using a combination of hands-on techniques (including joint mobilizations and massage), the therapist will help reduce muscle tension. This will help you rest. A therapist will also design a stretching and strengthening program to restore muscle balance and reduce pain; restoring normal rest patterns. If you have pain and are losing rest over it, reach out to us, your physical therapy providers. We’ll help you reduce pain. We don’t want you to lose any more sleep over this and it is time for you to start living a pain-free life. Call us today 208-478-1488