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How Quality Sleep Plays a Role in Pain Management

Feb 10, 2021 | Becki Andrus

How do you feel after a night of poor sleep? When you are tossing and turning throughout the night, it not only leaves you feeling sleepy the next day – but many people experience increasing chronic pain and health concerns.

Whether you’ve been living with chronic pain for a while or are at the beginning of your pain management journey, it’s crucial to be proactive about your sleep habits. Researchers have found a connection between poor sleep and chronic pain.

Cause and Effect: Poor Sleep and Chronic Pain

Many people experiencing chronic pain have difficulty determining whether their poor sleep habits contribute to the pain issues or vice versa. When sleep is disrupted, the body isn’t able to rebuild and repair during the night. On the other hand, chronic pain can make it more difficult to sleep. Too often, it turns into a never-ending cycle that takes a toll on a person’s health over time.

It doesn’t matter if your chronic pain is making it hard to sleep or if your poor sleep habits are contributing to your pain levels. Regardless of the cause and effect, you must take a proactive approach to improve sleep patterns. As you improve the quality and quantity of your sleep, you’ll notice a variety of health benefits – including reduced pain levels.

Good sleep hygiene, paired with other pain management strategies, creates holistic conditions so your body can heal. Through these consistent efforts, you can overcome the pain that continues to disrupt your life.

Sleep Hygiene: How Much Sleep Do You Need?

A variety of factors affect the amount of sleep that you need. Most adults require between 7 and 8 hours each night, but this requirement can range as low as 5 hours or as high as 10 hours. In addition, age, fitness, and daily activities can affect how much sleep each person needs.

Not only do you need to sleep a sufficient amount of time each night, but it’s also essential to consider the quality of these sleep hours. If you are waking up often or being interrupted in your sleep cycles, then it’s more challenging to reach the deeper stages of sleep. These deep cycles are essential for the rebuilding and repair work that happens within the body each night.

Do you feel drowsy during the day? Do you fall asleep within a few minutes when you go to bed? Then it’s likely that you are living with sleep deprivation. Be proactive about improving your sleep habits and see how you feel when you are getting enough sleep each night.

7 Tips for Improving Your Sleep

Even if you have poor sleep habits, the good news is that most people can correct these issues by implementing sleep routines. Of course, it takes a little bit of adjustment in the beginning. But it’s worth the effort when you see how much quality sleep improves your life.

Here are a few tips to help if you need to improve your sleep:

  1. Maintain a Regular Schedule: Staying consistent with the times you go to sleep and wake up helps train your brain about the sleep patterns you want to create. Go to bed at the same time every night. Set the alarm so you are consistently waking up at the same time. As you adjust to this new schedule, you will find that your body starts to wake up naturally before the alarm.
  2. Don’t Nap During the Day: It can be hard to stay awake when you feel tired in the afternoon. If you take a nap, it can turn into a vicious cycle that affects your sleep quality at night. In addition, napping, especially late in the afternoon, can lead to insomnia issues the following night – making it harder to get back on track with your sleep schedule. Instead of laying down, look for a way to stay busy so you can push through.
  3. Manage Your Screens: One common issue that affects bedtime is looking at a screen while laying in bed. When you watch TV or read on your phone in bed, it causes your mind to associate the bed with being awake. Also, the blue light from these screens can interfere with the natural rhythms within your brain. The best thing to do is set aside the screens for at least an hour or two before falling asleep.
  4. Dim the Lights: Provide your body with cues that it is time to wake up and go to sleep. For example, open the windows when you wake up in the morning to expose your eyes to a bit of natural sunlight early in the day. When you prepare for bed at the end of the day, turn off the overhead lights and keep the room dimly lit with a small lamp.
  5. Avoid Caffeine and Substances: Certain stimulants can disrupt your sleep cycle. Keep in mind that the effects of caffeine affect you for hours, so it’s best to avoid drinking coffee or soda later in the day. If you want to drink caffeine, then finish your coffee before noon. Also, be aware of other substances that might affect sleep, such as alcohol, cigarettes, or medications.
  6. Move Your Body: A sedentary lifestyle can play a role in your sleep patterns. If you are inactive for most of the day, prioritize a regular exercise schedule to burn off the energy that might keep you awake. Avoid exercising right before bed. It’s best to complete your exercise routine earlier in the day, so your body has a chance to relax before it’s time to sleep.
  7. Create Optimal Sleeping Conditions: Consider how your sleeping environment is influencing your rest each night. Set the ideal temperature in the room, turn off any sources of noise (such as the TV or radio), keep pets outside of the bedroom, and install quality window coverings to block out the light.

Talk to a Chronic Pain Specialist about Your Sleep

If you are experiencing sleep problems because of a chronic pain condition, our team is here to assist. We offer a holistic approach to pain management, helping you create the ideal lifestyle that reduces your pain and improves overall wellness. Talk to Texas Partners Healthcare Group for more information about our personalized services.