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How to Sleep Better During Chronic Pain

July 11, 2022 by The Sleep Company

If you’re one of the millions of Indians who have chronic pain, you are aware of how difficult it is to get a restful night’s sleep. You might not even be able to recall the last time you had a night of sleep that was even remotely passable. Lack of sleep due to chronic pain frequently starts a vicious cycle that only makes the source of the pain worse, resulting in even more sleepless nights, as is the case with most things that disturb our sleep. 

Some of sleep’s most beneficial effects are lost when conditions like chronic pain keep us from getting at least seven hours of regular, uninterrupted sleep.

What is Chronic Pain?

Pain that persists for more than three months or after the anticipated time for recovery is considered chronic. There are numerous causes of chronic pain. In certain cases, the pain is brought on by a recurring underlying condition that does not cure, such as arthritis pain. Even if the damage cannot be completely corrected, this discomfort serves the purpose of alerting us to its presence. However, after an initial injury has healed, nerve damage that continues to exist may also be the cause of persistent pain. Over time, this kind of pain can change how the body responds to pain and cause pain to worsen even in the absence of a stimulus. This pain is distressing and challenging to treat since it has no useful purpose.

Phases of Chronic Pain and Sleep 

To understand the phases of Chronic Pain, one must know the stages of Sleep and how chronic pain can affect these stages. There are four stages of sleep – 

NREM (Non-rapid eye movement) Stage 1

  1. The transition period between wakefulness and sleep.
  2. It lasts around 5 to 10 minutes

NREM Stage 2

  1. Body temperature drops and heart rate begins to slow.
  2. The brain begins to produce sleep spindle
  3. Lasts approximately 20 minutes

NREM Stage 3

  1. Muscles relax
  2. Blood pressure and breathing rate drop
  3. Deepest sleep occurs

REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep

  1. The brain becomes more active
  2. The body becomes relaxed and immobilized
  3. Dreams occur
  4. Eye move rapidly

Our brains alternate between non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) over the duration of a complete night of sleep. As NREM (Non-rapid eye movement)  sleep evolves through a series of three stages, NREM sleep often occupies the most time. The first two NREM stages are light sleep, which we enter as we start to nod off and when we are most susceptible to waking up. The third stage is deep sleep, during which our muscles stop working and our body increases the hormones it produces to repair damaged tissues.

When you have chronic pain, your sensitivity to brief awakenings during the course of this sleep cycle increases, leaving you groggy and exhausted in the morning. Every time one of these wakeups prevents you from entering the deep, rejuvenating stage of NREM sleep, your body misses out on an opportunity to perform some critical repairs. Without sleep’s crucial support, you might not be able to adequately address the cause of pain, and the vicious cycle keeps on.

How to get better sleep?

  1. Consult your doctor before taking any action: If you are aware of your chronic pain, you are already in contact with your doctor. However, if your chronic pain is also keeping you from sleeping soundly, make sure you discuss this with them as well. Furthermore, you ought to inform them if you believe that the painkillers you take are degrading the quality of your sleep.
  1. Your physician might advise cognitive behavioral treatment:  If your doctor thinks that your chronic pain is contributing to your sleeplessness, they can suggest that you consult a sleep expert who can assess your sleep patterns and make suggestions for improvements. Along with this, the expert will work with you to develop good associations with sleep to prevent bedtime dread.
  1. Some lifestyle modifications may be helpful for chronic back pain: There’s a significant probability that the daily stresses you place on your back are the cause of your back pain. Make an effort to keep yourself upright as much as possible, avoid slouching, and stretch at least once daily. You could need a new mattress or fresh pillows if your back discomfort is worse when you first get up in the morning. You can also choose to buy mattress online and save yourself from offline hassle.
  1. Replace your overly soft or saggy Mattress: A mattress that is overly soft or saggy shouldn’t be used for sleep because it can cause your spine to become out of alignment. To avoid having your body pushed against as you sleep, avoid using springs that are rigid and short-lived. For added comfort, buy the best mattress online. An orthopedic mattress for back pain can significantly improve your sleep quality. An orthopedic mattress supports the back & joints significantly with the prime function of providing an improved spinal alignment, back relief, and joint pain. And that makes it an ideal choice for people suffering from back pain, osteoporosis, arthritis, and other related problems. If you are suffering from a sore back, you can buy orthopedic mattress online that provides excellent support while sleeping.
  1. Adequate Pillow Support: You should make sure your pillows are providing you with the right amount of support. A Cervical Pillow with extra thickness in the bottom third is ideal, as this will help to cradle your neck. 

Sleep is a crucial ally in our struggle against illness and disease, and that much is evident. Even though the cause of your chronic pain can be something out of your control, you can still do everything in your power to safeguard this ally. We would like to remind you that if you put in the effort to enhance your sleep, we guarantee that your sleep will do the same for you.

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