Have you been struggling with restless nights due to persistent pain?
Do you wake up uncomfortable in the middle of the night? Does simply falling asleep pose problems, with aches and pains following every move you make? If so, you are not alone. According to the 2015 Sleep in AmericaTM Poll, 21% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, which can have significant adverse effects on sleep patterns.
The influence of sleep (both good and poor quality) carries over into many different dimensions of health, and its impact is often underestimated and poorly understood by both patients and clinicians alike. Poor sleep affects cognition, mental processing, and performance. Poor sleep on a regular basis also shortens the lifespan and increases the risk for developing chronic diseases. If your pain has been keeping you up at night, contact Abundance Physical Therapy today.
Why pain impacts sleep:
Pain is strongly correlated with two large concerns in regard to general wellness: stress and poor health. These concerns are also strongly correlated with abnormal sleeping patterns, resulting in shorter sleep durations and decreased quality of sleep. When pain is combined with stress and poor health, you create a trifecta of distress on your body, which can make it difficult to achieve a healthy and full REM cycle every night. In fact, 1 in 4 people with a chronic pain condition are also diagnosed with a sleeping disorder by a doctor.
Those suffering from chronic pain lose an average of 42 minutes of sleep per night – some even higher than that. In the same poll, 65% of Americans who were not experiencing chronic pain reported having “good” or “very good” sleep quality, while only 37% of Americans who were experiencing chronic pain reported similar results. In addition, 23% of the chronic pain sufferers also reported higher levels of stress.
Sleep is an essential factor in overall health and wellness. It is crucial to the ways in which our bodies function day after day. When pain results in issues with sleep, your daily life can be greatly impacted. Many people with chronic pain report that their sleeping abnormalities have interfered with work, activities, relationships, mood, and overall enjoyment of life.
How can I improve my sleep?
It can seem difficult to feel as if you are in control of your own sleeping schedule and patterns when you are suffering from chronic pain. People who are diagnosed with sleeping disorders tend to worry more about how their lack of sleep will impact their health, thus creating more toxic stress. They may also exhibit greater sleep sensitivity, making it easier for them to wake up to small environmental changes while they are sleeping (such as a creaky floorboard or a shift in sleep position.) However, there are some steps you can take to make sleeping as comfortable as possible for you, and try to make up some of the sleep debt you experience each night.
The environment in which you sleep is one of the most important factors in creating a good night’s sleep. This includes:
- Noise. If you experience sleep sensitivity, it is important to make sure that any unexpected noises are limited in your bedroom. Sleeping with a white noise machine or fan can help eliminate any additional environmental noises that may wake you up in the middle of the night.
- Light. If your room lets in excessive amounts of light in the morning, it may be beneficial to invest in some blackout curtains. Keeping your room dark will help you stay asleep through the night, even as the sun is rising. It is a great way to gain as much sleep as you can before your alarm goes off in the morning.
- Temperature. Have you ever woken up sweating, only to throw the blankets off and wake up freezing a couple hours later? The temperature in which you keep your bedroom has a large effect on your sleep. Your body temperature naturally decreases as a way to initiate sleep, so keeping a cooler bedroom can help facilitate your slumber. According to The National Sleep Foundation, the optimum bedroom temperature for a good night’s sleep should be between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. If you feel cold, wearing socks or keeping a hot water bottle by your feet can help dilate blood vessels and increase your internal thermostat.
- Mattress. It may come as no surprise that what you actually sleep on also has a profound effect on the way you sleep. According to Tuck Sleep, mattresses with mid-level firmness ratings (4-6 out of 10) tend to help the most with alleviating pain, as they provide a balance between comfort and support. Mattresses that are too soft or too firm can actually increase pain levels during sleep, as they can create more pressure and target certain pain points.
Sleep Requirements by Age
|Ages||Requirement (Hours of Sleep)|
|Newborns (0—3 months)||14-17|
|Infants (4—11 months)||12-15|
|Toddlers (1—2 years)||11-14|
|Preschoolers (3—5 years)||10-13|
|Preteens (6—13 years)||9-11|
|Teens (14—17 years)||8-10|
|Younger Adults (18—25 years)||7-9|
|Adults (26—64 years)||7-9|
|Older Adults (65+ years)||7-8|
Sleep and Performance: Intimately Linked
Less than five hours of sleep for five days in a row results in a 20% cognitive deficit Equivalent to 0.08% blood-alcohol level, which is legally drunk
The Difference That Two Hours Makes
|Less Than Five Hours of Sleep Compared to More Than Seven Hours of Sleep|
|42% greater chance of obesity|
|69% more likely to have hypertension|
|40% more likely to have diabetes|
|36% increase in elevated lipids|
|62% greater risk of stroke|
|152% increase in myocardial infarction|
Impaired sleep is a risk factor for the initiation and progression of Alzheimer’s disease Recent studies have shown an association between impaired sleep and an increased risk of AD
Good Sleep Top Ten
1. Set routine
2. Stay active
3. Watch your stimulants intake
4. Cool and quiet
5. Dark, lights out
6. Be calm
7. Remove distractions
8. Body alignment
9. Tune it out
10. Wake up to natural light
Physical therapy may aid your sleep issues. Contact Abundance Physical Therapy today!
Sleep is an essential part of daily function, and you shouldn’t let your pain rob you from it! If you are experiencing sleep deprivation due to your chronic pain, contact Abundance Physical Therapy today. We’ll provide you with helpful tips for gaining sleep and improving your daily life, free from pain and exhaustion.