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Pain, sleep and your lifestyle


  •   2 min reads
Pain, sleep and your lifestyle

The impacts of pain-related sleep loss on millions of people  are far-reaching. The problem is a notable one given the number of people who suffer from pain. The 2015 Sleep in AmericaTM Poll finds that 21 percent of Americans experience chronic pain and 36 percent have had acute pain in the past week. Those combine to a majority of the nation's adult population, 57 percent, leaving 43 percent who  eport being pain free.Pain joins two related concerns – stress and poor health – as key correlates of shorter sleep durations and worse sleep quality.

But there are paths to resolving the problem: The sleep gap narrows sharply among those who make sleep a riority.Pain is a key factor in the gap between the amount of sleep Americans say they need and the amount they’re getting – an average 42 minute sleep debt for those with chronic pain and 14 minutes for those who’ve suffered from acute pain in the past week.

Sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.

Also we know that pain triggers poor sleep. For instance, someone experiencing lower back pain may experience several intense microarousals (a change in the sleep state to a lighter stage of sleep) per each hour of sleep, which lead to awakenings. However, microarousals are innocuous for a person not experiencing chronic pain. Pain is a serious intrusion to sleep. Pain is frequently associated with insomnia and these coexisting problems can be difficult to treat. One problem can exacerbate the other.

Use of pain killers and/or sleeping pills are effective, but should be used under the supervision of a physician.Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep abdominal breathing.It is time to find a sleep professional when pain causes sleep problems and you are unable to fall asleep again. There are a variety of treatments available to ease the sleep problems of chronic pain sufferers, including medication and physical therapy.

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