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WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE WAKING UP WITH ACHES AND PAINS

Today's blog is from Tuck Sleep. Tuck Sleep is a community devoted to improving sleep hygiene, health and wellness through the creation and dissemination of comprehensive, unbiased, free web-based resources. Tuck has been featured on NPR, Lifehacker, Radiolab and is referenced by many colleges/universities and sleep organizations across the web.

Sleep deprivation makes everything more difficult, and that includes pain and recovery. When you're not getting enough sleep, it's difficult for the body to heal, and you may have a lower tolerance for pain.

HOW SLEEP DEPRIVATION AFFECTS PAIN

If you're not getting enough sleep, you may feel more pain than you would if you were well rested. In a sleep and pain study, patients who got the most sleep were able to withstand painful stimuli longer than those who got less sleep, by an average of about 25 percent.

Sleep deprivation can cause issues with the treatment of pain as well. With chronic sleep loss, painkiller medications may be less effective.

Sleep is essential for overall healing as well. During deep sleep, human growth hormone is triggered, which helps repair cells and tissues while you sleep. If your rest is too short or shallow with little to no deep sleep, you won't benefit from the restorative power of the deeper sleep stage.

Sleep is also crucial for emotional well being and healthy brain function. You need sleep to pay attention, remember information, control emotions, and cope with the frustrations of daily life. When you're sleep deprived, you're at a greater risk of depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Overall, getting less sleep tends to reduce a person's ability to deal with pain significantly.

HOW TO GET BETTER SLEEP TO SUPPORT HEALING

Getting better sleep can make it easier to deal with pain. When you get adequate sleep, your body is better able to heal, and you may perceive less pain than if you were sleep deprived. And you're more emotionally prepared to deal with healing, pain, and frustrations.

  • Get treatment for sleep problems. Undiagnosed sleep disorders can make it difficult to get the quality sleep you need. Issues like insomnia and sleep apnea are serious and can rob you of hours of sleep every night. Talk to your doctor about treatment options, including sleep therapy and CPAP, which can alleviate symptoms of sleep disorders.
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule and bedtime routine. Sleep thrives on consistency. When you go to bed at the same time each night, your body learns to expect it, and you'll start to feel sleepy, making it easier to wind down and get to sleep. The same effect happens when you have a regular bedtime routine. Going through the same activities each night before bed, no matter how simple, can train your brain to recognize that it's bedtime and time to relax and drift off.
  • Make meditation part of your bedtime routine. Mindfulness meditation can be restorative, calming, and relaxing, especially when paired with yoga. Use mindfulness meditation to clear your mind and get prepared for restful sleep. This practice can be especially helpful if you're dealing with stress and anxiety that keep you up at night.
  • Avoid bedtime pitfalls. Although a bedtime routine and meditation can be helpful for sleep, some activities can make sleep more difficult to achieve. Late night screen time, exercise, or large meals can interfere with healthy sleep. Stop screen time at least one hour before bed, and avoid vigorous exercise or large meals late at night.
  • Create a healthy bedroom environment. Make sure you're sleeping in a calm environment that makes it easy to relax. Your bedroom should be comfortable and kept cool, dark, and quiet at night. Consider using blackout curtains to block out light pollution at night and a fan for coolness and white noise. Paint your walls blue, and you'll benefit from a particularly sleep-inducing color.

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