Moger: Sleep evades everyone, especially those in pain

Sleep is central to a person’s health, well-being and survival.

Recent surveys have found more people are sleeping less than six hours a night and sleep difficulties visit 75 per cent of us at least a few nights per week.

Getting enough rest and sleep has been largely ignored considering our hectic lifestyles, but sleep issues are especially common for people who live with chronic pain.

We are all guilty of trying to fit too much into our days and his habit can be especially disastrous for people struggling with chronic pain.

Some concerns with chronic sleep loss is that I can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, weight gain, depression and decrease in immunity.

Sleep is central to a person’s health, well-being and survival.

Studies have shown that the normal 2 to 3 year life span of a rat is cut to about three weeks if they are deprived of sleep. They also develop abnormally low body temperatures and sores on their tails and paws. The sores probably develop because of the impairment of the rat’s immune system. Some side effects of sleep deprivation include

Inability to concentrate, drowsiness, mood swings, and impairment of memory and physical performance. These side effects can make people who live with fibromyalgia, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases feel even less able to cope.

Some common sleep problems include:

• Difficulty falling asleep. You may find yourself tossing and turning. This can happen for a number of reasons including the fact that you may not be physically tired, you’re having a hard time getting comfortable, or you have conditioned yourself that going to bed does not mean falling asleep.

• Waking up through the night. You may fall asleep easily but you find yourself waking up through the night.

• Waking up too early. Perhaps you can sleep through the night but wake up at 4 a.m. and can never go back to sleep.

Some helpful habits you can get into to help change your sleepless night include:

• Exercise. Getting into an appropriate routine of regular exercise will help tire your body make you more ready for sleep (use caution when it comes to doing vigorous exercise right before bed; it can actually have the opposite effect )

• Avoid caffeine. Steer clear of coffee, tea, pop, hot chocolate and other foods containing chocolate several hours before bedtime.

• Make your bedroom and yourself comfortable.

Consider the comfort of your mattress and pillows. Other things to think about would be the temperature, amount of ventilation, level of noise and darkness.

• Alcohol. Although alcohol can relax a person and help you fall asleep, it will cause more disturbed sleep throughout the night. Avoid alcohol entirely if you’re taking sedative sleep or pain medication.

• Don’t take naps. Try not to nap if you have issues sleeping at night, instead find other ways to relax.

• Try praying, meditating or listening to quiet music. This can help you feel relaxed, refreshed and energized.

A few last tips. Try to keep a bedtime routine, when you can’t sleep go to another room and do not use your bedroom for other activities than sleep (sexual activity is the only exception to the rule—this may also help you get a better night’s sleep.

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