Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Don't Snooze? You Lose - Sleep Deprivation in Pain Disorders





Sleep is a really big deal, especially for those of us who don't get it, or get it but never feel rested. What better time to talk about sleep, or lack of it, than March—"Sleep Awareness Month."



What Came First—The Seed or the Tree?

Many things can lead to sleep deprivation according to those who study it; anxiety or depression, airway obstruction (sleep apnea), narcolepsy (falling asleep without reason), pain, disordered sleep patterns   (prevalent in fibromyalgia), and inspiratory airflow dynamics also seen in fibromyalgia.  

We know primary sleep disorders affected by a disruption in the central nervous system (also is in charge of hormones that regulate sleep), sleep starts, and delayed sleep phase (inability to fall or maintain sleep) and all the other things from the first paragraph, interfere with our sleep quality. However, other disorders can plague our sleep too; including, teeth grinding (bruxism), periodic limb movement, PLM, (the vampire of restless leg syndrome), migraine, nocturia (nighttime urination, caused by bladder dysfunction, or certain other diseases), irritable bowel syndrome,  contributing symptoms of myofascial pain syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and more. Wouldn't it be nice to get some sleep?


Promoting Your Circadian Rhythm

Our circadian rhythm, a physiological cycle of all living things thought to repeat about every 24 hours, is orchestrated by two markers, melatonin concentration, and core body temperature. So how can we affect these things and contribute to restfulness?

Here is a helpful acronym for sleep hygiene:

S - Schedule bedtime and stick to it
L - Limit physical activity before bedtime
U - Use comfort measures
M - Meditate (count those lambs)
B - Breathe
E - Eliminate stress and food (including caffeine 2-3 hours prior to bedtime)
R - Remember nothing—clear your mind (journal your to-do list so you can let go)
(Cooper and Miller, 2010, pg 167)
 

Here are some tips that might keep your internal DVR from repeating the same episodes over-and-over again.:

  • Limit caffeine intake to mornings.
  • Avoid alcohol in the evening.
  • Limit activity two hours before bedtime.
  • Don’t eat right before going to bed.
  • See if your medications cause insomnia.
  • Practice relaxation techniques.
  • If deprivation is significant, see your doctor.
(Cooper and Miller,2013Are You Missing Your Favorite Episode? The Soap Opera of Pain and Sleep.


Disorder in Bed Court!

Sleep deprivation can impede healing, foster agitation, and when severe, cause psychosis. This might explain why so many of us have difficulty fighting off viruses and recovering from injury, the things normally repaired during sleep. When our cells are deprived of oxygen, cellular metabolism and energy is affected.

All the things discussed here—can and do—play a role in sleep quality. I advocate for my fellow sleep deprived cohorts. If anyone reading this article suspects sleep problems can be contributing to your symptoms, please report it to your doctor so he or she can get a sleep study, because many times despite doing everything right, a road block occurs and we literally lose our map to life. Not having enough or the right kind of sleep can be a major contributor. Effective sleep is important to our overall health. 

There are  integrative therapies that can be implemented, medications that can help, and specific treatments for specific sleep disorders, but you will not know without a sleep study where your problem lies (pardon the pun).
 
Updated Post Script

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."  
Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Health Central Chronic Pain ProAdvocate


Learn more about what you can do to help your body function to its potential in the books you can find here on Celeste's  blog


All answers and blogs are based on the author's opinions and writing and are not meant to replace medical advice.  

No comments:

Celeste's Website

Celeste's Website
Click on the picture