Chronic pain and sleep deprivation have an insidious relationship. Pain invariably interrupts our ability to sleep well and deeply, while sleep deprivation often denies the body the healing qualities of sleep.
It doesn’t much matter what type of pain you suffer from— it is likely to impact your sleep and how much rest you actually get.
There are two factors influencing our sleep, whether deprived or not; the length of time that we sleep and the quality of our sleep. The confluence of chronic pain and Sleep Deprivation occurs in the latter.
People with pain issues, both short term and chronic, are often woken up multiple times a night as any movement in the wrong direction, flares the pain and wakes the brain.
This simple reality makes healing more difficult.
Without my clients knowing it, I am spying on them from the minute I or they arrive. Whether this is watching the way they walk when I first enter, or how they stand, or in the context of this post—what kind of bags they have under their eyes.
The problem with pain and sleeping is twofold. There is the lack of healing if you don’t sleep enough but there is also the involuntary movement that tweaks whatever the Healing From Injury that you might be suffering from.
One way of looking at an injury is that every time you feel the pain in question you are reinjuring yourself. So you might get through the course of an entire day without making yourself worse, then go to sleep which is ideally healing, only to reinforce the injury multiple times over the course of the evening with any twist or turn.
This dilemma can honestly make recovering from injury much much more difficult.
The main solution that I offer to people is to try and nap during the day. One or two fifteen minute cat naps can really go a long way to recharging the body positively.
Another option is to go to sleep a little earlier and/or lay in bed after you wake up with your eyes closed in a position that doesn’t hurt.
Though resting might not carry quite the healing punch of sleeping, there is some benefit and the battle against chronic pain and sleep deprivation needs all the help it can get.