Posted tagged ‘pain’

An Ergonomic Bed

October 30, 2012

Regularly there are new sleep products on the market. Just last week I saw one that really impressed me, so much so that I’d like to share. Rest assured, I have no affiliation with this company, financial or otherwise.

It is a new bed which was designed ergonomically so the body can be in a neutral side-lying position during sleep. There is a cut-away so that the lower arm is supported underneath the body, while the head and shoulders are supported above. In this position the spine is not twisted, as it commonly is when side-lying. The support system allows the shoulders to be in a neutral position also, instead of rolled inwards as commonly happens.

The mattress is wedge-shaped so that the head is elevated. There’s been some work showing that when the body is supine, edema can re-distribute and cause narrowing of the airway. That airway narrowing increases the risk of apnea.

The bed is made of foam, and when I first heard that my alarm bells went off. However, I’ve learned that they only use pure foam that has not been treated with the harmful chemicals found in some foam. There were no fumes evident in the store, either when first walking in or after spending time looking at the bed.

So many people have pain conditions which interrupt their sleep, and the improvements to their sleep are limited until the pain can be eliminated. This bed gives me hope for some of those pain patients

In the next weeks someone will be trying it out for me, and I post an update here after the test. If you’d like more information, you can find it on the inventors’ site

Sleep and Chronic Pain

October 28, 2009

How Chronic Pain and Sleep Interact

Do you know someone who suffers from chronic pain?  It may be back pain, headaches, pelvic pain, fibromyalgia . . . many types of pain sufferers also experience sleep disruption.  Unfortunately, people can get into a cycle in which pain disrupts their sleep, and insufficient sleep makes pain worse.  This may seem logical, but let’s look more specifically at pain and sleep interactions.

A few chronic pain conditions are known for sleep disruption.  One of them is fibromyalgia.  70% of fibromyalgia patients have sleep complaints, and one study found that 27 of 28 had sleep-disordered breathing.  When the breathing was treated with CPAP, patients had a 23-47% improvement in symptoms.  80% of cluster headache patients are found to have obstructive sleep apnea.  For those patients who experience insomnia due to pain, it’s been shown that Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment (CBT-I) will improve their sleep, and may slightly decrease pain.

How to Minimize the Effect of Chronic Pain on Sleep

When people are in pain and their sleep is disrupted, they may feel like they need to catch some ZZZs whenever they can, even during the day. 

  • As best you can, maintain the difference between daytime activity and nighttime rest.  Stay awake and engaged during the day, and be sure to get bright light, preferably outside.  During the night, keep lights out, and minimize your activity.  This will help consolidate your sleep in the night. 
  • If you need to rest or lay down because of pain do so somewhere other than your bed or bedroom.  Make yourself a comfortable spot in the living room, maybe an easy chair or day bed.  This maintains a strong association of your bed as someplace to sleep. 
  • Get tested for sleep disorders if necessary, especially as discussed above. 
  • If you are taking prescription pain medications, be aware that some of them can cause sleep disruption.  You may want to ask your prescribing doctor to review your medications, and switch them if appropriate.