There is a direct link between quality of sleep and chronic pain. It can be very difficult for those dealing with chronic pain to fall asleep or, if they do, stay asleep. The pain they are feeling can have a massive impact on their quality and quantity of sleep. Then again, those who don’t manage to sleep very well might become more sensitive to their pain because they are tired. So, it makes sense that improved sleep could then play a role in managing chronic pain.
Why Sleep is Important for Pain Management
Getting enough sleep is vital for everyone, but even more so for those with chronic pain. The reality is that if you don’t sleep well the night before, you are going to be in worse pain the next day. The better your sleep, the less pain you will feel and the less medication you are likely to require. So, in terms of managing pain, sleep is particularly important.
What is Good Sleep?
It is hard to know what constitutes a good sleep as it is different for everyone. The amount of sleep that a person needs depends on age, but the CDC recommends that adults get a minimum of 7 hours per night. However, just being in bed for 7 hours is not enough to class your sleep as good or enough. For sleep to be considered good quality, it should be minimally interrupted. Waking up for long periods throughout the night is not good and will leave you feeling restless and tired the following day. You can usually tell if you have had a good sleep based on how you feel when you get up. If you have a lot of energy during the day and are in a good mood, it is likely that you slept well the night before.
On the other hand, if you are struggling to concentrate, find it hard to get out of bed, and feel tired or irritable during the day, then it is likely that you have not slept well. In the case of those with chronic pain, you will usually find that your pain is worse after a poor night’s sleep.
How to Improve Sleep
Improving sleep is something that doctors at pain clinics like Salt Lake City’s KindlyMD regularly include in their treatment plans. They know that many of their patients will see huge improvements in their pain levels if they are getting quality sleep. But how can this be done?
Those who have been struggling to sleep well for a long time don’t even remember what it is like to get a good sleep. But many of them have a haphazard bedtime routine that does not help the situation. Establishing a good routine is the first part of the process. It means deciding on a bedtime each night and sticking to it. It also means getting up at the same time every day, whether you have had a good sleep the night before or not. You should also do things in the same order each night before bed such as getting into your pajamas, brushing your teeth, reading a chapter of your book, and then listening to some sleep sounds.
It is also a good idea to avoid certain foods and drinks before bed. Steer clear of fatty foods and avoid those that contain caffeine such as tea, cola, coffee, and chocolate. Gentle stretching can help you to relax before bed but avoid heavy exercise in the two or three hours before sleep.
To conclude, sleep can be a powerful tool when it comes to pain management. It is important to understand what good sleep is and to establish a routine to help you get it.