Lousy Sleep is a Pain

March 10, 2014

Lousy Sleep is a Pain! 

 ReferenceWilkie Arthritis and Rheumatology,  

You are just waking up for the first day of daylight savings and you didn’t get a good night’s sleep.  You feel achy and sore.  Could there be more to it than that?  Well, surprisingly enough, yes! Widespread Pain is a specific identity as defined by the American College of Rheumatology.  You might have heard about it as it is often called fibromyalgia.  The associated signs and symptoms include frequent visits to physicians for diffuse symptoms that cannot be easily identified with high anxiety and depression scores.  It’s a tough place to be, as modern medicine, to date, has not come up with effective answers. 

 What did this study do?  It started with 4326 subjects who did not have WP (widespread pain) initially.   2,764 did report some localized pain at the beginning.  At the end of the three-year study period, 800 (18.5%) fit the criteria for WP.  In them, it was new-onset.   Of the folks with “some pain” at onset, 25% progressed to WP.   The predictive factors were investigated, though the study was not designed to identify the cause of the pain.   Non-restorative sleep was the strongest predictor. Did you get that?  Non-restorative sleep is when you wake and feel like you really didn’t get a good night’s sleep.   You are still tired.   

There have been other studies where people are woken up every time they get into deep sleep and those studies have shown that people will report more painfulness in various spots when they finally do wake up.    That makes for a very interesting link.  What it is about deep sleep that cures your brain and stops the registering of minor aches and pains and chronic and persistent pain? And is that why exercise is helpful in fibromyalgia.  You get yourself tired and that helps you get into a deeper, more restful sleep.   It is not the exercise per se, but the sleep that is helping you feel fully restored. What are good sleep habits?  Avoiding caffeine within 12 hours of sleep may be one key factor.  Going to bed at the same time calls out our attention today.  Calming activity late in the evening,  avoiding strong emotion arousing TV shows late at night, reducing bright lights.  There are lots of good habits you can follow

 WWW. What Will Work for Me.  I do find I do much better if I can have an hour of quiet reading before bed.  I need a cool bedroom with warm blankets.  And I do better if I go to bed, not having eaten for at least three hours.  My major meal at lunch helps me sleep at bedtime.

Pop Quiz

 1.  The strongest predictor of developing widespread pain is?                        Answer:  Nonrestorative sleep.
 2.   A good night's sleep is strongly helped by what habits?  Name some                 Answer:  a)   Eating smaller supper b)  Exercise c)   Quiet activity in the evening.  Exercise earlier in the day d)  No caffeine for 12 hours prior to sleep e)   Lower lights
 3.  Lousy sleep causes fibromyalgia.  T or F                     Answer:    F. Can't say that.  Just that it is associated
 4.   Daylight saving time switches disrupt everyone's sleep in the spring.                   Answer:    Just about
(Editor's Note:  With the discovery of chronic inflammatory response syndrome or CIRS from water-damaged buildings (see: www.survivingmold.com) we find the strong association with lowered MSH and disrupted sleep and multipoint pain syndromes.  This is a syndrome that has now been defined and can be helped.  Fibromyalgia has a credible cure.)

Column is written by Dr. John Whitcomb at Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI

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