Under ideal circumstances, you lay your head down each night and sleep for eight hours and then wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world. When you’re in pain, however, getting to sleep or staying asleep can be frustrating and have serious health consequences.
To help you better understand the relationship between pain and sleep, the leading pain-management specialists here at Comprehensive Pain Management, Drs. Boris Shwartzman and Do Chan, gathered some important information together. Here’s a look.
Pain and sleep — a two-way street
The first point to consider is that the relationship between pain and sleep is bidirectional, which means the lines are often blurred between the two areas. For example, if you have a sleep disorder — and about 70 million Americans do — your nervous system can become more sensitive, which means your pain sensations are quicker to fire.
Conversely, if you’ve normally slept well, but you’ve developed pain, that pain can interfere with your ability to get to sleep or stay asleep. To illustrate this point, let’s look at a problem with your hip. Whatever the underlying problem, certain sleep positions are going to be uncomfortable, so if you roll onto your side while you’re asleep, the ensuing pain can wake you.
The consequences of poor sleep
To better understand the consequences of poor sleep when it comes to your physical and mental health, let’s first review what happens when you do sleep.
The reason why we call it restorative sleep is that your body uses this time to scan itself and make any necessary adjustments and repairs. The systems in your body can locate and correct any problems they may find, from rebalancing your hormone levels to healing a wound.
As well, while you sleep, your heart and breathing rates slow, which gives your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems a bit of a “break.”
Lastly, your brain also uses this time to catalog the day’s events and create memories.
Turning this equation around, when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re more at risk for potentially life-altering issues, including:
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive difficulties
More ominously, poor sleep is associated with early mortality.
Managing your pain for better sleep
If we find that pain is the cause of your poor sleep, we do everything in our power to manage or relieve the pain so that you can get the rest you need. It’s impossible to say here what your treatment might be since it depends upon the underlying cause. Rest assured, we offer a wide range of pain-management options that tackle both acute and chronic pain.
If you want to relieve your pain and get a good night’s sleep, set up an appointment by contacting one of our offices in Attleboro or Franklin, Massachusetts, or South Kingstown or Warwick, Rhode Island.