Pain and Sleep Are Connected

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Pain affects every aspect of an individual's life, includingsleep. Pain is the leading cause of insomnia, according to theNational Sleep Foundation. For example, individuals withchronic pain often experience less deep sleep, more arousals,and disruptions with waking, as well as less efficient sleep. Infact, it is estimated that over half of the patients with chronicpain have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Sleep andpain are a 2-way process because poor sleep and waking paincreate a cycle that affects mood, energy, behavior, and safety.

There are several approaches for managing pain andsleep problems, such as medications that address both thepain and sleep problems, exercise, and psychological methods.Experts recommended the following psychologicalapproaches:

  • Relaxation training to have individuals relax their musclesand free their mind of stress
  • Biofeedback to teach individuals how to control specificbody functions involved in headaches or other sources ofpain such as temperature or muscle tension
  • Cognitive and behavioral therapies to focus on changingthe way individuals think about the pain experience orchanging the behavior or attitudes related to the pain PT

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