One of the aspects of chronic pain that I still can’t get a real handle on is sleep. So many nights I laid in bed wide awake wondering why the pain seemed worse at night. Sometimes I can’t sleep at all, and other times I fall asleep, but wake up within a few minutes or hours with excruciating pain. Do you remember the old joke that goes: “A man goes to the doctor and says, ‘Doc, it hurts when I do this.’ The doctor looks at the guy and says, “Don’t do that.’”. Well, it’s kind of hard to stop doing something when you’re not doing anything! After a night of poor sleep, the day is like moving through molasses. My brain is even more foggy than usual and according to my daughter’s, that’s not good. I’ve scared my wife in the middle of going back and forth on IM while she’s at work; I’ve fallen asleep and she has no idea of what has happened to me.
When a person lacks sleep, the body has a hard time processing carbohydrates and glucose. It can effect weight, as lack of sleep inhibits human growth hormone. Without sleep, one has slower reaction times, memory problems, impaired judgment, as well as daytime sleepiness. Less than five hours of sleep/night can cause more stress, anger, and sadness. Insomnia can have the same effects on a person as being intoxicated, which doesn’t help when you’re taking enough pain medicine to make a crack addict jealous. Considering how much chronic pain patients have to deal with, adding any of these conditions to your repertoire is a bad thing. How about you? Have you battled insomnia at times? Do you notice an increase of issues when you’re not sleeping?