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Here’s a non-so-fun fact for you – up to a third of adults in the UK say they suffer from insomnia. And, if you’re one of them, you’ll know just how frustrating this sleep disorder can be.
But what is insomnia? Who does it affect? And how can you get it under control if you think you may have it?
Insomnia, in simple terms, refers to difficulty falling and staying asleep. You may suffer from frequent waking throughout the night, or it may take you hours and hours to drift off. You may also feel that any sleep you do manage to get doesn’t feel as restful as it should, leaving you feeling fatigued the next day.
While there are plenty of scientific explanations for insomnia (think circadian rhythms, REM sleep, slow waves – all the big words!), for those who suffer from it, it’s best to keep things simple and look at factors in your daily life that may be causing your sleep issues.
Let’s talk through a few.
Everyone will experience a dodgy night’s sleep once in a while, but chronic insomnia means that the issue occurs regularly.
Now, some causes are relatively easy to treat. For example, eating late at night or using a screen too close to bedtime can cause insomnia. As can habits like smoking or drinking.
For these causes, a few changes to your daily routine may make all the difference.
However, conditions like chronic pain are huge culprits in the insomnia struggle, and they can be much more difficult to treat.
Pain is massively distracting. It draws all your attention and makes it difficult to focus your thoughts elsewhere.
Now, couple that with lying in bed with nothing to do but get lost in the pain your condition is causing, and you’ve got yourself a bad case of insomnia.
In return, lack of sleep can cause inflammation, causing increased pain the next day if you’re suffering from chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
Your pain is worse. This makes your insomnia worse. And, a bit like a roundabout that won’t stop spinning no matter how much you want to get off, the cycle continues.
The best thing you can do here is manage the cause (your chronic pain!) rather than the symptom (that pesky insomnia).
To improve your chronic pain and thus your sleep, give a few of the following a go:
Insomnia is an unfortunate consequence of chronic pain (and other life factors!), but it can be managed. For more information on managing your insomnia or for some advice and support, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
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Rolling with The Glen is a trading name of The Glen Health Group Ltd. Company Number 14152398. Registered Office: 82 Lyecroft Avenue, Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, B37 6SY
A Life Without Pain is a Life Without Limits!