Sleep is so important for wellbeing (ask any young parent!), and yet many people with chronic pain have really poor and unrefreshing sleep, and very poor sleep habits. Some pain conditions show changes to the quality of the sleep stages (such as fibromyalgia for example), to the point where these changes can almost be diagnostic, while many people with chronic pain also have low mood in which sleep disruption is a common feature.
I’ve written about sleep several times over the past year, and today I provide links to some of these posts for your education and enjoyment.
Sleep problems in chronic pain and what helps – Pain can be associated with a sense of poorer quality sleep, and could well have been a factor influencing the onset of insomnia, it’s often other factors that maintain unsatisfying sleep.
Thinking about sleep – or not – CBT responses to common thoughts and beliefs when introducing sleep management.
Oh, to sleep – CBT for insomnia in chronic pain – Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) is a well-established approach for helping people return to a refreshing sleep pattern, this study describes research about four strategies.
If you’re not asleep, get out of bed! – Sleep restriction as a strategy for optimising time in bed actually asleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream – different types of pain problem can link to different types of sleep problem.
Don’t forget that an effective strategy for helping with sleep onset is deep relaxation, and mindful attention to sensations such as the contact of the body on the bed, the breath in and out, and attending to each body part without necessarily changing the position can all help to ease into sleep. I’ve also used ambient sound recordings – for me the sound of the sea is particularly relaxing – and recordings like this can mask street noises provided that the recording can remain on all night. It’s better to learn to send yourself to sleep without external aids like recordings where possible, because if you wake during the night and haven’t learned the art of going to sleep by yourself, you’ll need those same aids at that point in time too.