SLEEP SUNDAY, LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

Sleep SundayLet’s Talk About Sleep. Sleep dysfunction and chronic fatigue are common in many disorders including Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, Arthritis and mental illness.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, two out of three people with chronic pain have trouble sleeping and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, say over 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorder and another 20 million experience occasional sleeping problems.

Experts estimate 25-40% of patients with chronic pain have insomnia, many times the rate among those without. It’s estimated that 50-80% of chronic pain patients report sleep disturbances. The worst is when pain and sleep loss get into a downward spiral of awfulness, leading to low quality of life. Pain makes it hard to sleep, poor sleep makes the pain subjectively worse, and both lead to depression, which also affects sleep disorders and pain experience. Recognizing that pain and sleep disorders often go hand-in-hand can sometimes help to solve the problem.

Sleep they say has a naturally recuperative power. A greater emphasis on sleep may help patients improve their daytime functioning. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a possible solution for both living with pain and alleviating problem sleep, but maybe they should include some ‘sleep clinics’ in the ‘pain management’ programmes.

Does pain make the sleep worse or does poor quality sleep degrade make the pain feel worse? Both. Don’t discount the effect that a good night’s sleep can have on a person’s quality of life and ability to tolerate pain. The subjective intensity of pain decreases when a person is well-rested. Hyperalgesia – increased sensitivity to pain – is a result of loss of sleep, especially the loss of REM sleep. Which is ironic, because the opioid drugs used to treat severe pain suppress REM sleep and may make patients more sensitive to the pain they feel. Antidepressant drugs could also suppress REM sleep and make us complain about pain more (maybe this is partly the cause of the stereotype of the diva). Poor sleep quality is correlated with more severe pain and increased fatigue.

Some people do truly believe acupressure to help you sleep. Some tips are to place the tips of your index and middle fingers on the centre of your breastbone, at the acupressure point known as ‘Sea of Tranquility’. Now close your eyes and apply steady pressure, not too hard, for a minute or two. You will then soon feel tension, anxiety and stress start to slip away.

You could also use your first two fingers and tap them across the top of your head from temple to temple. Then work from front to back and side to side as this can get blood and oxygen moving to ease tension and restore focus.

To destress your shoulders make a gentle half-closed fist and with a loose wrist, tap your right hand gently but firmly up your left arm, along your shoulder and up the side and back of your neck. Repeat the same process on the other side to ease tension and release endorphins.

If any of these did work for you then please let us know.

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