Another tool for your pain management toolbox: Sleep - Pain 2 Possibilities

Another tool for your pain management toolbox: Sleep

​There is nothing like a good slumber! Sleep is one of the non negotiable tools in your pain management toolbox, and for very good reason. It is one of the most fundamental support systems we have.

We are learning through recent research just how important sleep is when it comes to the maintenance of your overall health and in the recover of pain and injury. It's reach is broad and effects your ability to manage pain, to repair after injury or exercise, to manage autoimmune disorders, stress and emotional well-being, just to name a few!

It can be difficult getting a good nights sleep when you are living with chronic pain which then in turn restricts your healing and unfortunately also increases your pain perception.

​So how does sleep help your body manage pain? Let's explore...

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  • Sleep is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce inflammation while you slumber.
  • Just like food and water, sleep is a non-negotiable of health and well-being even though it can remain elusive for those with CP.
  • ​Stress management. Without a proper night's sleep, your body experiences greater stress. Stress makes your nervous system more sensitive to pain.
  • You can cope with pain much more effectively with a good rest under your belt due to a decrease in your pain response.

​Sleep can remain a little elusive and challenging at times but try these simple steps to help you get the rest you need to manage your chronic pain a little bit more strategically.

  1. 1
    Create a set schedule for sleep. Be as intentional about when you are going to sleep as you are for eating your meals. Put it in your schedule so that it takes priority.
  2. 2
    Eat dinner a little earlier as a full stomach can keep you up at night and make it harder to fall asleep, especially as we age.
  3. 3
    Remove yourself from electronics well before bedtime and dim the lights. The blue light from electronics stimulates the part of the brain responsible for alertness and readiness.
  4. 4
    Read a book or have some quiet time where you can listen to your breathing and calm your thoughts, especially after a busy or painful day.
  5. 5
    Avoid caffeine (yes that includes chocolate) after 1:00 pm as it is a stimulant and will make it more difficult to fall into quality sleep. (perhaps that means we can eat chocolate for breakfast or is that just wishful thinking?)