What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is the pain that continues for more than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment, and the discomfort may be constant or intermittent. You can experience it anywhere on your body. Your regular activities, such as working, maintaining a social life, and taking care of others or yourself, may get hampered due to chronic pain. It can cause worry, despair, and insomnia, exacerbating your discomfort. All this can start a vicious sleep cycle that can deteriorate the quality of sleep.
What Differentiates Chronic Pain from Other Types of Pain?
Acute pain is a different kind of pain than chronic pain. When you are hurt, whether it is a minor scratch on the skin or a fractured bone, you experience acute agony. It passes quickly and disappears once your body has recovered from whatever brought on the discomfort. Contrarily, chronic pain persists even after fully recovering from an illness or accident. Even when there is no apparent cause, it nevertheless occurs.
5 Tips for Sleeping Better with Chronic Pain
1. Find the ideal pillow, bed, and sleeping positions
Your sleep pattern and rest, particularly if you have chronic pain, are significantly impacted by your sleeping position, the condition of your pillows, and the comfort of your bed. You should first invest in a bed with good support. Identifying your ideal sleeping posture is the second thing you should do. For various types of chronic pain, different poses are preferable. It will also assist you in selecting the ideal cushion for you. A mattress that will lift your neck and keep it in a natural posture is necessary if you snooze on your back. While belly sleepers should choose a thin pillow or none at all, side sleepers will benefit most from big pillows.
2. Note Your Worries
Your hectic daytime activity may keep our minds active, but when we go to rest, our brains are frequently overtaken by worry. The ‘induced worrying’ technique may be helpful if fretting keeps you awake at night. Interested? This is how you do it:
- Write down all of your troubles in a notebook a few hours before going to bed.
- Put the diary aside once you’re confident you’ve recorded all of your worries.
- Remember that you will have a lot of time next month to address these issues.
3. Working Out During the Day
Any exercise that makes you feel good or reduces discomfort should be done frequently. It is a terrific alternative if someone such as a physiotherapist has developed a workout regimen just for you. It might be an excellent way to go outside and obtain some exercise if walking is a possibility for you. Because swimming doesn’t put so much pressure on your joints, it can also benefit people in discomfort. Gentle exercises can assist with pain management; however, being active throughout the day can make you feel exhausted and sleepy at night.
4. Make Your Bedtime Environment Better
Make sure your bedroom is entirely dark since any light might keep you from falling asleep deeply. Avoid using artificial lighting, such as the phone’s light. If necessary, get blackout drapes. Try turning on a fan or buying a noisemaker if you find it hard to unwind in complete stillness. Temperatures around 60 and 67 degrees Celsius are ideal for sleeping, so consider this when setting the temperature in the house or bedroom.
5. Consume Meals that Could Encourage Slumber
Including specific items in your early dinner may help your body produce more tryptophan. Proteins like tryptophan are necessary for synthesising serotonin, a hormone that controls sleep. A shorter time to fall asleep, more comfortable sleep, and improved morning alertness are all benefits of higher tryptophan levels. 3 examples of meals that encourage sleep include:
- High-glycemic-index carbohydrates, such as rice.
- Alternatives in fruits like kiwis and cherries.
- Or, try other foods like milk, legumes, fatty fish, and shellfish
When is the best time to sleep?
Not only is getting the correct quantity of sleep necessary, but also getting to bed at the right time. The optimal time window for going to bed to ensure a healthy wake-up is somewhere between 9 pm and midnight. Due to their advanced age and lack of energy, seniors typically go to bed earlier, which is acceptable. Even if you get the correct number of hours, if you go to bed after midnight, it won’t be the best sleep for you.
Importance of sleep
- Sleep helps in cell restoration,
- Sleep helps in the proper functioning of the brain.
- Sleep helps to boost the immune system.
- Sleep affects your heart health
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According to scientific research, chronic pain and sleep difficulties are directly related. Sleep deprivation makes it more challenging to get a good night’s sleep, and pain makes it more noticeable. It is critical to remember that a variety of things influence sleep. Your age and the meds you are taking both matter a lot. It is crucial to remember that different diseases or environmental factors may interfere with restful sleep and heighten pain sensitivity.
According to both experimental and longitudinal research, changes in the facilitation and regulation of pain processes may be overlapping circles in the link between sleep and chronic pain.
The Cleveland Clinic claims that in certain situations, people with chronic pain are also found to have sleep abnormalities like sleep apnea; when the sleep issues are treated, the pain also disappears. While we don’t claim that this is the sole treatment option for all types of pain, there is unquestionably a connection between the two.
Chronic pain patients may experience a self-sustaining cycle of discomfort, sleeplessness, and anxiety or sadness. For instance, a person in distress may experience stress if they have trouble falling asleep. They could have restless sleep and experience depression, which makes them more sensitive to pain.
Chronic pain is one that continues for more than 12 weeks despite medication or treatment, and the discomfort may be constant or intermittent. Chronic pain is that uncomfortable feeling that none of us wants to feel and will lower our quality of life. When a muscle or tissue is damaged, our brain, spinal cord, and specialised nerves interact in a complicated way, resulting in chronic pain.
Patients with chronic pain have “noisy” brains all the time. This may lead to a shorter attention span and difficulties with clear thinking and problem-solving. Patients with chronic pain may also develop deconditioning because of the diminished levels of functioning and mobility.