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IT’S SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF SLEEP YOU NEED…

Vitality Health says that going to sleep between 10 and 11pm is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease compared with earlier or later bedtimes according to a study published recently in the European Heart Journal – Digital Health.

The study also showed that poor sleep can result in poor cardiovascular health, particularly for women, and that circadian rhythm disruption could be an understudied risk factor in heart health.

One minute they are telling us that we need a full night’s sleep to function correctly and even that sleeping may help you to lose some weight! Now, researchers are careful to note however that oversleeping has been linked to a host of medical problems, including diabetes and heart disease.

So, how much sleep should we have? Well, the amount of sleep varies significantly over the course of our lifetime. It depends on your age and activity level as well as your general health and lifestyle habits.

They say that sometimes circumstances mean we need more sleep, for instance during times of stress or illness. However, the typically recommended amount of sleep for adults should be between seven and nine hours each night.

When we’re sleeping, our brains are actively working to process the information from the day into our long-term and short-term memory. Good sleep not only helps our bodies and minds to rest and repair, but it also allows us to perform better too.

Many Fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers say they feel lucky if they get 5 hours of sleep a night.

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle? Pain makes it difficult to sleep, but sleep deprivation means the body cannot repair itself – making the pain worse. Healthline points out that people with chronic pain don’t necessarily see improvements in sleep once their pain is resolved.

In fact, the pain often only continues to worsen until sleep is addressed. This may be related to the fact that some people with chronic pain may battle anxiety which in turn may cause stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol to flood their systems. Over time, anxiety creates overstimulation of the nervous system, which makes it difficult to sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation points out that sixty-five per cent of those with no pain reported good or exceptionally good sleep quality, while only 45 per cent of those with acute pain and 37 per cent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 per cent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 per cent of those without pain.

Those with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems impact their daily lives. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than half of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 23 per cent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more apt than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships, and enjoyment of life overall.

People with pain also feel less control over their sleep, worry more about lack of sleep affecting their health and exhibit greater sleep sensitivity. They’re more likely than others to say environmental factors make it more difficult for them to get a good night’s sleep. These factors include noise, light, temperature, and their mattresses alike, suggesting that taking greater care of the bedroom environment may be particularly helpful to pain sufferers.

While both chronic and acute pain is related to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, one in four people with chronic pain, 23 per cent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 per cent of all others.

Sleep station comment that It’s a never-ending battle and a vicious circle between sleep disturbance and pain. In some there may be an element of chicken and egg – is the pain-causing sleep problems or is the mediocre quality of your sleep making your pain feel worse? Pain can, for example, be the main reason that you wake in the night, and these interruptions during the night can lead you to get less sleep, and most important of all, less excellent quality restorative sleep. This sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and your tolerance for pain and thus can make your pain feel worse.

Source: Vitality Health, Healthline, The National Sleep Foundation Sleep Station Digital Health

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