Sleep is really important for everyone, but especially for those who suffer from chronic pain, as fatigue can make chronic pain worse.
Sleep is the time when our bodies repair themselves, both physically (torn muscle fibers) and psychologically (working through fears and anxiety). Each sleep cycle (which lasts about 100 minutes) is divided into physically repairing sleep and psychologically repairing sleep. Age affects this balance, for example babies spend almost all of their sleeping hours in psychologically repairing sleep (dreaming), as older adults spend more time in physically repairing sleep.
When anxiety, depression or poor sleep habits interfere with sleep patterns, the natural ability of the body to repair itself becomes disrupted.
While there a number of sleeping pills marketed today, many come with nasty side effects such as addiction, depression, increased accidents and none are approved as long term sleeping aids. What does work well for sleep however, is something called sleep hygiene and CBT-i or cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia. CBT-i is aimed at changing sleep habits and busting myths about sleep and insomnia, that make sleep difficulties continue. The main steps of CBT-i are: sleep education, stimulus control, and sleep restriction therapy.
NOTE: IF YOU SNORE OR EVER STOP BREATHING AT NIGHT, YOU MAY HAVE SLEEP APNEA, AND SHOULD HAVE A SLEEP STUDY DONE.
This short video explains what you need to know about how to get a better night's sleep.
Not for the faint of heart, and not recommended as a first line option for insomnia, sleep restriction therapy can be very helpful for some people.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation can help you unwind for sleep.
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