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How can I improve my sleep?

This page was last updated: March 25th, 2021

Sleep and persistent pain:

Sleep is important for a variety of reasons that impacts on our physical and emotional wellbeing.

This includes:

  • Restoring/replacing the energy we have used during the day.
  • Allowing brain processing and memory consolidation/retrieval and learning.
  • Growth and repair
  • Repairing damage
  • Helping to build muscle

Good sleep increases:

  • Attention, concentration, social skills, physical and emotional health and wellbeing and creativity

Effects of sleep loss can include:

  • Poor memory/concentration/problem solving
  • Increased impulsiveness
  • Poor judgement and motor skills
  • Reduced immunity
  • Low energy and loss of motivation
  • Low mood and irritability
  • Reduced creativity
  • Weight gain

We know that there are many things that can affect our ability to have a good night’s sleep and this includes living with persistent pain. As well as the physical experience of pain which can make it difficult to get comfortable or cause us to wake in the night, the other aspects of living with pain can also affect our sleep. For example, feeling more stressed or anxious, difficulty “switching off” our thoughts, or finding it difficult to “wind down”, can all stop us getting to sleep or staying asleep.

This can become a difficult cycle whereby pain affects being able to sleep, and lack of sleep can increase our experience of pain and affect our mood, and overall physical and emotional wellbeing, including making it generally more difficult to do day to day activities.

There are some day to day strategies that you may wish to consider which can help with improving sleep. The following link gives some general advice:
(“Tips for Falling Asleep” by sleep expert Professor Matthew Walker)

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