I know I am far from suffering alone when I talk about sleepless nights whether you are suffering from chronic pain or not. Once the cycle of disbelief that you will sleep through the night sets in then your brain is already warning you that it’s going to be the same every night.
There are hundred’s of blog posts and websites on how to get a better nights sleep. I don’t know about you, but I have spent plenty of money on investing and trying different tactics to help with my sleep.
Most nights I manage to get off to sleep without a problem once my amitryptyline has kicked. I always seem to feel so exhausted that I try to convince myself that this will be the best nights sleep I have had in ages. Admittedly over the last six months the persistent pins and needles from my trapped ulnar nerve combined with my low back and neck pain, has woken me up continuously every night without fail. But I honestly convinced myself that once the elbow surgery was done I would be able to get a better nights sleep.
For the first couple of nights after the surgery I was obviously woken up more with the pain from the surgery but I only had a light sedation so I felt sure after a couple of days that things would start settling down again. How wrong could I have been. The nights are sooooo long when you are constantly waking up and then the mornings seem a blur and a haze seems to envelope my eyes and I find it harder and harder to concentrate for longer than a couple of minutes. All I want to do is fall asleep sitting upright.
According to Wikepedia Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep; it can be either chronic or acute. A chronic sleep-restricted state can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness and weight loss or weight gain. It adversely affects the brain and cognitive function.
I’ve tried caffeine first thing and find that does wake me up pretty quickly and the shower is a blessing in disguise but before the clock has struck eleven I am already desperate to nod off. The best time of the day for me seems to be after an afternoon sleep (which I have daily) at around 4pm when I always have a cup of tea and a biscuit. My surge of energy then makes me want to do a million things all at once and I really wish I could feel like this first in the morning instead of late afternoon, but I guess if this is how my body works then I shall just have to accept it this way.
One good side to this is that I am always the party animal at night when we go out and in fact a lot of people I know think I must be joking when I complain about how the lack of sleep and pain makes me feel as I always seem to be on top form when they see me. Little do they know that this little dormouse has to work very hard to have her bit of fun time in a 24 hour period.
According to an article on WEB MD Charles Bea, MD says that ‘there is a link between pain and sleep problems, exactly how the two conditions are connected varies from person to person. “You have to determine what is the chicken and what is the egg,” he says. “Is pain a manifestation of, or made worse by, a sleep disorder or is pain causing the poor quality of sleep?”
Charles Bae, MD, a neurologist in the Sleep Disorders Center at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, puts it this way: “Pain can be the main reason that someone wakes up multiple times a night, and this results in a decrease in sleep quantity and quality, and on the flip side, sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and pain tolerance and make existing pain feel worse”.
So what’s the answer – Spine Health say that “Psychological techniques. Meditation, cognitive behavior therapy, and deep breathing exercises are some of the more common practices.Sleep medications. Specifically designed to help with sleep, these medications may be considered by themselves or along with other strategies in certain circumstances”, may help with your sleep pattern.
Arthritis Health says that “Positive bedtime habits and environment changes include:
- Using a high-quality mattress with comfortable sheets and blankets
- Eliminating light and noise from the bedroom, including glare and sounds from electronics; a sound machine that generates white noise may help mask outside noises (people will often use a fan for this purpose)
- Lowering the temperature in the bedroom to 68 degrees or lower
- Using deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation techniques (tensing and then relaxing muscle groups in sequence)
- Using a biofeedback device to help individuals recognize signs of tension and actively work to relax muscles, slow breathing, and calm down
- Going to bed at the same time every day
- Getting up and doing something calming if sleeplessness sets in, returning to bed only once feeling tired
If you have any unique suggestions on how to get back to sleep after being woken up with pain then please let us know so we can all try it.