Sleep - Pain relationship

The connection between sleep and pain is a rather difficult  question, however, it can be useful to know about those mechanisms. Believe it or not, but according to the research made by Sleep in America™ poll, the majority (57%) of Americans faced the problem. The  21% of Americans suffer from chronic pain and 36% have had experienced it in the past week. The rest 43% report being pain-free.


How does pain affect sleep?

Pain is a serious intrusion to sleep. Pain is frequently associated with insomnia and these coexisting problems can be difficult to treat. The Journal of Pain, sleep complaints are present in 67%-88% of chronic pain disorders. And among those with insomnia, more than 50% suffer from chronic pain.

In the state of a deep sleep, as a rule, the sensation of pain is the less. Because sleep is a state of deafferentation: the interruption or destruction of the afferent connections of nerve cells and, as such, tends to decrease the perception of pain.

The findings of the study about relations of sleep and attention to pain suggest that the pain-sleep relationship is bidirectional. It means that the experience of pain while awake can cause insomnia and, contrariwise, poor-quality sleep can intensify pain. This study also suggests that “attention to pain” is a function of sleep quality. Poor sleep generally results in increased somatic attention. This seems consistent with the notion that patients with chronic pain find themselves in a vicious circle of increasing pain and sleeplessness, one amplifying the other.


Increasing sleep priority can lead to its better quality

Those who suffer from pain more likely than others exhibit a greater sleep sensitivity. They’re also more influenced by different environmental factors, such as noise, light, temperature and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

But the high motivation to get enough sleep can change a lot for the best. Even among those with pain, a higher motivation to get sleep was associated with longer sleep durations and better sleep quality, in numbers, motivated people were able to sleep 36 more minutes per night across the week compared with others (7.3 vs. 6.7 hours). That’s a striking metric, indicating as many as 4.2 hours more sleep per week in motivated individuals.


Sleep can be the indicator of one’s health

According to the study, awareness of one’s sleep and health are deeply related. Sleep duration and its quality decline linearly with each health rating. For people, who estimate their health and quality of life as very good or excellent have the duration of sleep from 18 to 23 minutes longer on average compared to those who rate their health and quality of life as just good, fair or poor.

Sleep quality and duration should be considered a vital sign, as they are strong indicators of overall health and quality of life,” said Kristen Knutson, PhD, National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America™ Poll Scholar. “Extremely long or short sleep durations are associated with more specific conditions, but for many people who are close to getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, getting just 15 to 30 minutes more sleep a night could make difference in how they feel.”


How to improve the sleep

“Good habits are worth being fanatical about.”  J. Irving, one of those is sticking to sleep hygienerules for achieving a good night’s sleep.

Some tips for people with chronic pain are:

  • Stop or limit caffeine consumption, in the afternoon.
  • Limit alcohol intake, particularly in the evening.
  • Use of pain killers and/or sleeping pills are effective, but should be used under the supervision of a physician.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep abdominal breathing.


Do not hesitate to find a sleep professional when pain causes sleep problems. There is a variety of treatments available to ease the sleep problems of chronic pain sufferers, take good care of yourself.

And don’t forget to try the most reliable alarm clock - Solid alarm clock, it will always help you to wake up in time.

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