Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sleep Deprivation Can Increase Your Symptoms and Make Your Chronic Pain Feel More Intense

Sleep Deprivation and Chronic PainPeople who deal with chronic pain often times struggle with getting enough quality sleep, I know that I personally have trouble falling asleep at night because I can't seem to find the right position  or I can't comfortable at all.  I hate tossing and turning in the bed at night because I know that it interrupts my husband's sleep while I attempt to find a comfortable position to lay in.  So I end up laying in one position for a while, even if it is uncomfortable, before turning over again in the attempt to find a more comfortable position.  When I can't sleep I often times will play games on my phone, chat with my followers on Twitter, or read a book.  This irritates my husband to no end.  I don't do it on purpose and I would go to sleep at a decent hour if I was able to get comfortable and actually fall asleep.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only.  I am not a doctor, health care provider, or counselor.  If you have any health concerns, please talk to your doctor immediately.  The opinions reflected in this post are my own and may differ from your own opinions.

I remember when I was pregnant with my youngest, most people are aware that women who are towards the end of pregnancy often find it difficult to get a good nights sleep.  If you recall when you were 8 or 9 months pregnant, you too couldn't find a comfortable position to sleep in, you toss and turn to find a somewhat decent sleeping position, or you are suddenly woken up by hip or back pain in the middle of the night.  This is how I feel every single night even though I have given birth to my son almost two years ago.  I came up with this analogy in hopes that women might be able to somewhat feel what I go through each and every day.  Granted pregnant women eventually get to end their pain, suffering, and sleepless nights for the most part after they give birth to their baby.  However, my problem is constant and ongoing.

When I can finally get to sleep, I usually have to wake up in a few hours and get my kids off to school for the day.  This not only interrupts my sleep schedule but it also annoys my husband because I end up going back to sleep for a few hours during the day.  I wish I could find a happy medium and a balance but rest/sleep is very important.  In fact it is important that your body get quality sleep so that you experience the deep sleep stage which is necessary for proper mental health.  Sleep also helps promote healing and leaves you feeling refreshed and well rested.  When you bordy is in this deep sleep phase, often referred to as rapid eye movement or REM, your body not only makes you feel better physically but it also helps people cope with stress more effectively, helps you recover from illnesses or pain, and helps you solve problems (promotes healthy mental health).  

If you are sleep deprived, you are not only physically tired but it can cause you to suffer from other health issues including depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.  Not getting enough sleep can impair your ability to analyze and solve problems, increases your pain, makes you feel more fatigued, decreases your ability to fight off illnesses, delays your immune systems response time, can increase your symptoms of depression, and can impair your memory.

Don't continually deny yourself sleep or use caffeinated drinks to constantly cover up your sleep deprivation.  Continual sleep deprivation is not only bad for your overall health but it increases your pain symptoms (as if they aren't already bad enough) and affects your moods.  I know that I am more cranky when I am tired.

Take care of yourself, you only have one life to live.  Dealing with chronic pain isn't easy but it is important that you know that you aren't alone on this journey.  If you are feeling alone, please find me on Twitter or leave me a blog comment, I will do my best to help connect you to an online support group or help you find additional resources in your area.

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Genesis 2:18
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."   

Do you have trouble falling asleep at night?  If so, how do you overcome your sleep problems?