Lesson 7 of 10
In Progress

7) Sleep

I-Engage May 3, 2021

In this lesson, you will learn about the connection between sleep and chronic pain, and also how to achieve better sleep.

If you are struggling with sleep, then you’re not alone. Indeed, It’s very common for people with persistent pain to have difficulties getting to sleep or staying asleep.

Recent research shows that by adjusting what you do during the day (and night), it is possible to achieve a healthy sleep pattern...

Firstly, let’s analyze why you’re having trouble sleeping.

Why Can’t I sleep?

1)Your medication makes you drowsy in the day, so your sleep is irregular
2)You notice your pain more as there are no other distractions at night
3)You are experiencing mood changes that create stress and tension
4)You worry about how your lack of sleep will affect you the next day
5)You do not have a consistent routine, so your mind and body are confused about when it’s time to sleep
A woman sleep at her desk with her laptop open in front of her. Beside her she has four cups of coffee.

Further, let’s cover some areas of your life that you can adjust to prioritize better sleep.

Certainly, there are many changes you can make to improve your sleep. Used consistently over a period of five to six weeks, these can consequently lead to a huge difference:

1)Daily routinesGet into a regular sleep routine; Avoid napping; Avoid using your bedroom to rest in the daytime
2)Activity levelsYou may be avoiding physical activity because you are worried it will make your pain worse. However, staying active is good for your pain and your sleep. Use pacing to help you increase your tolerance to activities (review the section on pacing).
3)Food and drinkAvoid caffeine in the evening. Do not drink too much before bed to avoid trips to the bathroom at night. Avoid drinking alcohol in the evening. Eat dinner early enough to digest it and avoid snacking before bed.
4)Nighttime routinesFollow a wind-down routine. Repeat this routine every night to signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. For example, take a shower and brush your teeth right before bed every night. Only go to your bedroom when it’s time to sleep. Ensure the temperature is set for comfort. Ensure the room is dark.
5)Mind and body restMake sure you have a comfortable bed and mattress. Find a supportive position to fall asleep in. Use relaxation techniques to help you quieten your mind. If you awaken, go back to your wind-down routine. Do not keep checking your clock.
A woman lying awake in bed.

Additionally, for more information on Sleep, please look for the “Sleep and Chronic Pain” eLearning course on the Courses eLearning page.

In the next lesson, you will learn about how food, relationships, and work can affect the quality of your life.

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