I go to bed at 11:00 pm, only to toss and turn like a rotisserie chicken for 2 hours. I can’t get comfortable because everything hurts. I know I need to get to sleep otherwise my pain levels will go even higher than they already are, and I won’t be able to function. I finally get to sleep two hours before my alarm goes off. Another long painful day in ahead of me.
Getting a good nights sleep is one of my greatest struggles. I’ve never been a great sleeper. I’ve always been sensitive to noise and bare minimum I need eight hours of sleep just to function. Along came chronic illness and chronic pain and suddenly I can’t sleep even in ideal conditions. I have tried many many prescription and non prescription drugs and they do very little.
Painsomnia is the inability to sleep (insomnia) because of chronic pain.
Pain is probably the number one cause of my sleeping problems. I used to have access to pain killers and that did help, but with the opioid hysteria there are no longer very many viable treatment options for chronic pain. So often times I will try to go to bed and my body will refuse to let me sleep. During the day I can distract myself from the pain, but at night I have nothing left. I’ll lay there and lay there and all I will think about is how much my body hurts. It feels like my body is screaming in pain, and nobody can sleep under those conditions.
Insomnia is bad enough. but when it’s accompanied by horrible pain it makes it even worse. 64% of people with chronic pain have reported that they lack sufficient sleep. Pain is a huge factor in the gap between the amount of sleep people say they need and the amount of sleep they actually get.64% of people with chronic pain have reported that they lack sufficient sleep. Click To TweetWhen I’m sleeping it is the only time I am free of pain. My body gets so tense from being in pain all the time, and sleep is the only time it has to relax. When I don’t sleep it creates this horrible feedback loop
pain —-> insomnia —-> more pain —-> more insomnia = PAINSOMNIA!
I can never get enough sleep. Like most people in pain, I would give anything to just be able to lie down and go to sleep like a normal person. I’ve tried all the natural options and… nothing. I’ve tried the medical options and…nothing. Painsomnia will be the death of me.
Possible solutions to painsomnia
If you google painsomnia you’ll find a lot of articles that state that is caused by depression, bad sleep habits, or lack of “prioritizing,” but it’s more than that. Even healthy people have insomnia and no one blames that on depression. Painsomnia is caused by under treatment of chronic pain. Because the most effective solution (pain killers) is no longer allowed, we have to work with what we have. Here are some strategies that have helped me a little.Painsomnia is caused by under treatment of chronic pain.
- Make sure you have a comfortable bed
Getting a good nights sleep is never going to work if you don’t have a comfortable bed. I’ve noticed my painsomnia is always worse when I’m sleeping away from my house and am stuck with a terrible bed.
2. Guided sleep meditation
I never thought this would work for me, but it does help me to focus on something else besides the pain. If I focus on the relaxing voice it calms me
3. Create a relaxing bed time routine
This looks different for everyone, but for me it means I do 10 minutes of bedtime yoga each night. It helps me to stretch out my muscles and clear my thoughts for the night.
If nothing else is working and you just can’t sleep, don’t lie there all night stressing about it. Go ahead and read a book for a while, or listen to music. It may help relax you enough to get to sleep later.
None of these solutions are perfect,which is why painsomnia exists. Just know when you’re up late at night, hurting and frustrated, that you are not alone.