Roughly 1 out of every 5 Americans are disrupted by chronic pain during sleep. The clinical explanation is that sleep’s effect on pain is greater than the effect pain has on sleep. Some common sleep issues, such as insomnia and sleep apnea, can be worsened due to chronic pain.
Sleep management can help reduce chronic pain by improving the patient’s overall health. Physicians may also find sleep studies useful in treating patients with chronic pain. Identifying the causes can break the vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and enhance quality of sleep.
Vicious Cycle of Sleep Deprivation
There are a variety of long-term effects and associated ailments when dealing with sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can worsen existing conditions causing chronic pain. Some of the more severe cases include hallucinations, mania, anxiety, and depression.
Sleep deprivation is preventable by a prompt diagnosis and treatment. A patient suffering from sleep deprivation may notice symptoms such as drowsiness, impaired memory, and reduced physical strength. Although some of these symptoms may be related to other conditions, there is a possibility they are related to sleep deprivation. It is important to visit a physician and possibly proceed with sleep testing to determine the root of the issue.
Methods for Patients to Improve Sleep
There are many ways to improve sleep, even without the use of medical treatment. Developing better sleep habits over time improves overall health and quality of life. This may also lower sensitivity to pain.
Keeping a normal sleep schedule, avoiding sleeping in late, and limiting naps will help patients. Additionally, spending more time outside and using natural lighting at home may have a positive impact on sleep as well. Exercising in the morning or afternoon is also a good way to help regulate sleep. Patients should be mindful of eating habits and avoid things like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine.
When to Visit a Physician
Sleep issues often go ignored and are commonly left undiagnosed. Due to the long-term effect sleep has on health, it is important to seek medical help as soon as a sleep disorder is suspected. A physician may recommend an in-lab or home sleep test, like DreamClear™. Home sleep tests are often more convenient and comfortable for patients dealing with sleep disorders. Enhancements in telemedicine now enable patients to perform tests at home and follow up with physicians upon completion, streamlining the process.
By diagnosing and treating sleep disorders, a patient’s overall quality of life will improve and chronic pain may possibly be reduced. Physicians prefer a more holistic treatment for chronic pain, including exercise and creating a relaxing sleep environment. In more severe cases like obstructive sleep apnea, it may be medically necessary to administer a CPAP machine or an oral appliance.
Evaluate Sleep-Related Issues with DreamClear™
A physician will often recommend a sleep study if poor sleep habits or obstructive sleep apnea may be contributing to chronic pain. DreamClear™ is effective in diagnosing sleep-related conditions and helping physicians provide more effective treatment for patients.
To learn more about the benefits of using DreamClear™ to conduct home sleep tests, please contact a member of our team today.