Unfortunately, this problem is all too common, but it also over-simplifies the reality of the situation. Many feel the pain is the only issue in regards to sleep, but it actually represents far more than just pain-induced insomnia. In reality, the combination of pain and lack of sleep creates a downward spiral.
The obvious portion is that pain tends to keep people awake at night, so they have trouble falling asleep, and maybe wake up throughout the night as well. Even if the pain does not lead to awakenings throughout the night, it very likely deteriorating the quality of sleep.
What’s more, too little quality sleep tends to make pain worse! When the pain increases, quality sleep decreases even further! Just what you needed, right?
The good news is that you can break the cycle. Depending on the source of your pain, you may not ever be able to get rid of it completely, but there are things you can do to lessen the negative impact on your life, and possibly even the severity of your pain.
- Minimize stress. We know, this may be easier said than done, but take it one step at a time. When you feel the stress increasing, pause, walk away (if possible), take a couple deep breaths, and determine the best course of action moving forward.
- Follow through. Did your medical team provide you with special instructions to help with the pain, such as physical therapy or nutrition recommendations? Yes, it takes effort, and it may be difficult, but perhaps it is worth a try.
- Pamper yourself.Here’s your big excuse to take a little time for yourself. After all, you can’t take care of anyone or anything else unless your needs are met. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be something. Curl up with a blanket and read a book. Draw up a warm bubble bath and soak. Do something you find relaxing. (Does this remind you of our post on productivity?) 5 Ways To Do More In Less Time
- Seek help, if needed. Maybe you will do just fine addressing things on your own, but there is absolutely NO shame in asking for help.
We are here for you!!! Coach Joan Langholz, PhD is now scheduling Chronic Pain sessions in conjunction with our Sleep and Relaxation program.