Sleeping disorder and insomnia are common for people with chronic pain, be it back pain, fibromyalgia or the pain of cancer. As a matter of fact pain is one of the most common causes of sleep disorders and insomnia.


Why cant I sleep?

Pain deteriorates sleep patterns and sleep disturbances worsen pain – it’s a vicious cycle. Sleeping disorders vary from problems falling asleep to difficulties staying asleep and they are the reason for intensified pain and aggravated sleep.

To understand how chronic pain might make it difficult to fall asleep, it is helpful to think about your bedtime routine. Most people will eliminate distractions in order to relax and fall asleep, including things such as turning off lights, making it quiet and getting comfortable. However, this quiet environment can cause problems for people with chronic pain because then the only thing left for the person to focus on is the experience of his or her pain. Unfortunately, without other distractions, pain seems to become more intense.

How can I sleep if I am in pain?

Very often, treating chronic pain and insomnia requires a multidisciplinary team approach with help from different medical specialists. Certain pain relieving medication can improve sleep, and are prescribed to patients who have both a sleep disorder and a specific pain. But opioid pain medications can disrupt sleep and prevent patients from entering deep sleep after as little as one dose. Opioid pain medications can also cause sleep-related breathing disturbances.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)  for insomnia includes a few strategies which can improve sleep quality and help people change thoughts and behaviors that interfere with sleep. This type of therapy is often preferred over prescribed medications because it has no side effects and is a more effective long-term solution.

One of the main goals is to help patients control or eliminate negative thoughts and worries that keep them awake. Another strategy is relaxation training, which is used to reduce or eliminate muscle tension and distract the person from racing thoughts. Techniques include progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery and meditation. The treatment involves professional guidance and teaching of these skills. Usually, patients will take part in three to eight sessions to learn these techniques and discover what works for them.

7 things to do that will help you fight insomnia

  • Use the bed and bedroom for sleep only. Avoid sleep-incompatible behaviors in the bed, including reading, watching TV or worrying.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy.
  • If unable to sleep within 15-20 minutes of getting in bed, get up and go into another room. Return to bed only when sleepy again. Repeat if necessary.
  • Maintain a regular wake time regardless of the amount of sleep that night.
  • Avoid naps during the day.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Exercise, but don’t do it within a couple hours of bedtime.

It has been proven that cognitive behavioural therapy is effective with 70 to 80 percent of patients.

Sweet Dreams !