Two weeks ago, the National Sleep Foundation released the results from their annual poll, Sleep in America, which surveys the sleep health and behaviors of Americans. The 2015 poll found that pain is a key factor in sleep loss for a whopping 57 percent of Americans suffering from chronic or acute pain. After pain, stress and poor health were the next related concerns.
The survey asked 1,044 individuals ages 18 – 91 about their sleep habits and routines. The study found that about 21 percent of Americans suffer from chronic pain, while another 36 percent have lost sleep from acute pain in the last week.
Those who suffer from sleep loss due to pain reported feeling not in control over their sleep time, tended to worry more about how their lack of sleep is affecting their health and showed greater signs of sleep sensitivity. Americans who reported they felt motivated to get better sleep did so by setting a sleep routine and creating a supportive sleep environment. These individuals reported sleeping 36 more minutes per night than individuals who experience pain during sleep.
We want you to sleep well. If you have pains that cause you to lose sleep, here are a few tips from Iowa Sleep on how to improve your sleep:
- Adjust your sleeping position – If you experience pain in your neck or back, it could be from your sleeping position. The best position to sleep in is face-up on your back with a pillow under your head. This position aligns the body and airways perfectly, making is easier to fall asleep.
- Change your pillow – A simple change that goes along with your sleep position is changing your pillow. Using body pillows can help prevent you from tossing and turning, while placing a pillow under or between your knees can help to alleviate excess pressure on your spine and align your hips.
- Relieve muscle tension – Before hopping into bed, do a couple pain management techniques that work for you such as taking a warm shower or bath, doing a yoga routine, or using a heating or ice pack. This will help to relax your body, making it easier to fall asleep.
- Be mindful – If you struggle to turn your thoughts away from pain while trying to fall sleep, don’t lie there thinking about how much pain you may be in. If you can’t fall asleep, get up from the bed and read a book, make a cup of tea or do another relaxing activity. When you feel sleepy again, return to bed and try again.
For more information on this study, please visit the 2015 Sleep and Pain Poll results or learn more at www.sleep.org. For more information about how to sleep without pain, contact a doctor at Iowa Sleep to set up a consultation.