Chronic pain makes it hard for patients to fall and stay asleep, and studies show pain sufferers are getting almost an hour less of sleep each night because of their discomfort.
According to the “2015 Sleep in America” poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, chronic pain plays a big role in how much and the quality of sleep people get. According to the study:
- Chronic pain caused 57 percent of Americans a “significant loss of sleep.”
- People with chronic pain said they got 42 fewer minutes of sleep than they needed each night.
- People with chronic pain were more likely to blame their difficulty on other sleeping factors, like noise, light, temperature and mattress problems.
The biggest issue facing people with chronic pain was that it’s a cyclical battle. Pain makes it harder to fall and stay of sleep, and lack of sleep exacerbates chronic pain symptoms.
Tips For Falling Asleep With Chronic Pain
Falling asleep with chronic pain is no easy task, but there are some steps you can take to improve your chances of falling and staying asleep. Here are some steps to consider:
- Stick to a Routine – Going to bed at 8:30 one night, 10:00 the next night and 11:45 on the weekend is a good way to throw your sleep rhythm out of whack. We know you might stay up later on the weekend, by strive for consistency during the work week.
- Remove Distractions – The bedroom should be a place for sleeping, not a place you go to watch Netflix and read your Kindle for an hour before bed. Do those activities in another room so your body gets used to falling asleep faster when you’re in bed.
- Keep it Dark – Similar to the above point, iPads, Kindles and televisions are bright objects that signal to your brain that you’re not yet ready to fall asleep for the night. Remove those electronics, close shades and turn off all lights, because it’s easier to stay asleep and fall back asleep in a dark environment.
Thomas Cohn, MD
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