Trying to sleep with pain can be frustrating and difficult, especially if your pain is ongoing or severe.
Types of pain
Pain can be caused by a number of things, but it’s usually categorised as being acute or chronic.
Acute pain usually comes on suddenly and is caused by something specific. It lasts less than 3 months (although often a lot less), and disappears when the underlying cause of the pain disappears. It can be caused by things like surgery, broken bones, muscle or tissue injury, dental work, illness, burns or cuts.
Chronic pain is ongoing (usually longer than 3 months) or recurring pain. Typical causes of chronic pain include headache/migraine, musculoskeletal issues (including back and neck pain), nerve pain, and cancer pain.
Around 20% of Australians live with chronic pain, with the prevalence rising to 1 in 3 people over the age of 65.
How pain interferes with your sleep
People who sleep with pain, get less sleep and lower quality sleep than those who don’t have pain. Pain sufferers also feel less control over their sleep, and worry about lack of sleep interfering with their health. They are also more sensitive to environmental factors (e.g. noise, light, temperature, poor mattress support) that prevent them from sleeping. People with pain are also more likely to have sleep problems that impact their daily lives.
Pain can have a complicated effect on your sleep. Firstly, it may prevent you from sleeping soundly, causing you to either wake through the night, or sleep fitfully. Pain also increases your levels of stress, which can also reduce the quality and quantity of sleep you get. And to round out this vicious circle, stress can cause you to be more sensitive to pain.
How to sleep with pain
Obviously, if you’re trying to sleep with pain, one of the first things you should do is to speak to your doctor. Whether your pain is acute or chronic, your doctor will be able to advise on appropriate treatment and management of your pain condition. This may include painkillers, physical therapy and other therapies or strategies.
Practicing good sleep habits can also help promote good sleep, even if you do suffer from pain. These include going to bed at the same time each night, avoiding napping during the day, making sure your environment is restful and comfortable, avoiding stimulants like tea, coffee and drugs before bedtime, and avoiding mentally stimulating or stressful activities before bedtime.
Sleeping on the right mattress is also an important part of managing pain, particularly if you are the 1 in 6 Australians who experience back pain, or the 1 in 5 who have neck pain.
Finding a mattress that will offer the right amount of support and comfort can be tricky. However, at BedGuard, we have a range of Australian-made waterproof mattresses offering various levels of support. Our bariatric mattresses are particularly designed to offer extra support for people with obesity — a common cause of pain.
Choosing the best mattress to help you manage a pain condition isn’t as simple as picking one and hoping for the best. So talk to one of our experts who can help find the best mattress for you.