Good Quality Sleep
Getting good quality sleep is important for the body’s restorative functions. A large majority of patients who experience chronic pain naturally find it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep disturbances resulting from chronic pain may make coping with pain more difficult.
Although frustrating, it is important to be reassured that lack of sleep can be managed and the main focus should be on the quality of sleep, rather than the quantity. Establishing a good sleep routine will assist in minimising sleep disturbances.
Create good sleeping habits by:
- Routinely going to bed at the same time each night
- Eliminate day-time napping
- Moderate caffeine intake, particularly in the afternoon and evening
- Stop using backlit screens by 6pm (this includes TV, mobile phones and other devices)
- Ensure your bedroom is a good environment for sleeping by minimising noise, removing clutter, choosing comfortable bedding, turning off all lights and blocking out any other light sources.
- Avoid lying awake watching the clock as it only increases anxiety. If you have trouble sleeping, it is best to get up and read a book, have a cup of calming herbal tea or use relaxation techniques and then try falling asleep again.
Medications prescribed for the treatment of pain can cause both sedation and disturbed sleep. If you are experiencing difficulty sleeping, discuss this with your doctor.
Some useful resources:
- Pain Health: Sleep and Pain
- Harvard Health: How to sleep well despite chronic pain