Restorative sleep is paramount to both your physical and mental health. We’ve all experienced the often long-lasting effects just one night of restless or absent sleep can have on our bodies and mood. Having multiple nights of disturbed sleep can snowball into catastrophe, including with it insurmountable anguish on our mental health. For those suffering from chronic pain, these effects are amplified, and the impact could be devastating.

A good night’s rest not only makes you feel revived and ready to take on the day, but it also possesses therapeutic benefits for your mind and body. The regenerative byproducts of sleep can greatly reduce the amount of physical and mental impediments you experience by increasing your threshold for pain and your ability to handle stress.

The Effects Chronic Pain Has On Your Sleep and Mental Health

Those suffering from chronic pain often have sleep disruptions that compound on one another; including not being able to fall asleep, difficulties staying asleep and waking earlier than they would like. These disturbances can lead to what is called “non-restorative sleep”, which can also cause decreased appetite, irritation, mood changes, concentration issues, and debilitating exhaustion. These negative repercussions can precipitate discomfort and frustration, opening the gateway to anxiety and depression. Pain. Disturbed rest. Mental distress. Rinse and repeat. The cycle continues without restorative sleep.

The downward spiral that chronic pain and inadequate sleep brings can lead to depression, anxiety, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. It can also exacerbate the symptoms of those with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Because pain triggers the survival signal in your brain that prepares for fight or flight, it creates physical and chemical changes in your brain. These changes prompt physical stress reactions, like heart rate increases, and prolonged brain chemical shifts can event impact the brain.

How to Break The Cycle

If you’re suffering from the aforementioned issues, the outlook may feel dismal. The good news is that there are some simple steps to quiet the nervous system to achieve restful sleep and decrease pain.

1. Practice good sleep hygiene. Having quality sleep hygiene is a fundamental component of both mental and physical health. These practices optimize your sleep schedule and provide a better quality of sleep. Try setting a sleep schedule including a nightly routine to help you wind down along with improving your sleeping environment to allow for more comfort.

2. Develop calming psychological exercises. Targeting the neural pathways that trigger depression, anxiety and chronic pain for rewiring is an experiment because not all techniques are universally suitable. Some of the most common methods for revamping the brain are expressive writing, meditation, guided visualization, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

3. Improve diet and exercise habits. Healthy eating habits and physical activity are not just for losing weight, they can have a dramatic overall impact on the reduction of fatigue. The rules are simple: don’t eat late, reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption, terminate smoking, partake in physical activity, and get adequate sunlight.

4. Educate yourself. Knowing is half the battle. The more you understand chronic pain and mental health, the more equipped you’ll be to thwart the activation of your brain’s fear system by activating the rational part of your brain to take over instead.

While these techniques have been proven to be helpful to many, each person requires unique forms of treatment to get off of the fast-moving Ferris wheel of pain, lack of sleep, and mental health burdens. Additional treatments include medication for both pain and behavioral health management. Common treatments often include anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication to calm the nervous system and get back into a normal sleep pattern. Another effective treatment is ketamine infusions, which have the dual effect of treating both mental health interferences and chronic pain restrictions by regenerating neuronal connections and blocking pain receptors. Request a free consultation to learn if ketamine infusions are the best course of action for your symptoms. Just complete the brief form below and a member of our clinical team with be in touch.

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