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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SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

It’s Sleep Sunday, so let’s talk about sleep, that’s if we are lucky enough to get some. Some facts about sleep deprivation and pain.

Many Fibromyalgia and chronic pain sufferers say they feel lucky if they get 5 hours’ 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 percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent 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 percent 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 relate to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, nearly one in four people with chronic pain, 23 percent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 percent 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 the sleep problems or is the poor 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 good quality restorative sleep. This sleep deprivation can lower your pain threshold and your tolerance for pain and thus can make your pain feel worse.

SLEEP SUNDAY – LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP…

Sleep Sunday, let’s talk about sleep. It doesn’t seem to matter which magazine you pick up and read as most of them will have an article about the right and wrong way to go to sleep. They say you should turn your phones off and read rather than watch something on your screen but when you are in pain sometimes it takes a lot more than just turning things off to help you sleep. However, lack of sleep also causes stress, lack of coordination and agility, weight gain and poor judgement.

With that in mind, I have decided to dedicate my Sunday’s to Sleep Sunday where I plan to write and review anything and everything to do with sleeping from pillows to aromatherapy oils, from mattress toppers to scented eye masks, there is even a Sleep Show dedicated to helping you sleep better. There is just so much out there to write about I feel sure I will be able to help someone to sleep better (and hopefully myself) with my articles on Sleep Sunday.

I would also love to hear from any readers that have anything they have tried/used to help them sleep as I know for sure that lack of sleep can make your pain ten times worse.  I have written over 40 posts to do with sleep from which drugs affect your sleep, sleep disturbance and Fibromyalgia, tips on how to sleep better, sleeping and back pain, lots of articles on sleep, reviews sleep shows in the UK.

One minute they are telling us that we need a full night 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, apparently 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. But, 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.

To finish my first post on Sleep Sunday I will write five top tips on what to take to get a better nights sleep. Next Sleep Sunday I will write about the latest news on aromatherapy oils to help you get a better nights sleep.

1. Have a glass of semi-skimmed milk with 2 teaspoons of honey before you got to bed for a natural goodnight’s sleep. Our immune system also works harder during sleep to fight and prevent illness.

2. Take Melatonin which is a hormone that plays a key part in regulating your natural body-clock. Studies have shown that melatonin improves sleep quality, particularly in the elderly.

3. Take Valerian as it is thought to have a sedative effect. Studies have shown that the root of the valerian makes getting to sleep easier and increases a deeper sleep.

4. Eat more leeks and onions or garlic and artichokes as they contain prebiotic fibres that fuel the healthy bacteria in our gut and can have a profound effect on our health and sleep.

5. Try a herbal remedy with hops, passionflower and Valerian.

Always remember to check with your GP first before taking any herbal remedy, or any of the above.

 

TUESDAY TIPS FROM #BACKPAINBLOG – THE IMPORTANCE OF REST DAYS…

Our Tuesday tips this week are the importance of rest days for people suffering from any type of pain.

Is there such a thing as too much rest? What if you get out of shape or lose muscle? Is it necessary to rest completely, or is “taking it easy” enough, and for how long? How do you know when to lay off and when to “use it or lose it”? How can you rest anatomy that you need to use all day, every day?

Pro Health say that ‘Rest is a key factor in successfully managing and living with fibromyalgia.  However, most people with fibromyalgia tend to push themselves to their limit every day.  Often this results in a push/crash cycle – doing way too much one day, then taking several days to recover.’

When you are in less pain it’s easy to expand more energy than you have available. I do it all the time and then my symptoms are intensified and I’m in the bad books with the family. ‘The trouble is ‘, as I say to my family, ‘the bell doesn’t ring until after I’ve overdone it.’

Spine Universe wrote that some specific benefits for fibromyalgia sufferers are:

  • It strengthens your muscles. Muscles that are lean, flexible, and strong combat stress. Strong muscles also support your body and bones better, which aid movement and support.
  • It increases energy. People with fibromyalgia often experience debilitating fatigue, and regular physical activity can help boost energy and endurance levels.
  • It promotes a restful sleep. Research shows that exercise helps you fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Sleep disorders are a common fibromyalgia symptom—one that exacerbates the disorder’s widespread pain. Better sleep can mean less pain.
  • It’s good for your mental health. Exercise reduces stress, anxiety, and depression—all common symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
  • It keeps the weight off. The more weight you carry, the more stress it puts on your body, causing pain. Exercise, along with a balanced diet, will help you reach or maintain a healthy weight.

I think we all know that doing nothing at all while in pain does not mean you will get better but pacing yourself and resting regularly can definitely give a kick start. I redesigned my bedroom to feel like a sanctuary and most days between 3-4pm I close my blinds, pop my heat cushion on and get under the duvet for 40 winks. The difference for me if I don’t have my rest days is pain, pain and much more pain.