If you’re not sleeping well, you enter a negative circuit: Pain keeps you from sleeping well, then not sleeping well lowers your natural production of pain-reducing chemicals. You get into that uncomfortable cycle — where pain is keeping you awake, and the fact that you are not sleeping increases your pain.
To resolve the issue, we recommend starting with non-pharmacological approaches – whether doing a self-massage before bed, taking a hot bath, playing some relaxing music, using aromatherapies, or taking mind-quieting herbs. The whole idea is to help a person get the deep rest that they need at night. They’ll often find that their pain level is much higher before they’ve gone to sleep. When they wake up in the morning, however, if they’ve had a good night’s sleep, the pain level is reduced.
And so focusing on the secondary effects of chronic pain, and showing improvement in those areas, can often reduce the impact of pain.
David Simon, M.D., is a board-certified neurologist and ayurvedic practioner; co-founder, CEO, and Medical Director of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing; and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Neurosciences at The University of California. Dr. Simon has authored popular wellness books including his newest book, Free to Love, Free to Heal: Heal Your Body by Healing Your Emotions and Grow Younger, Live Longer: 10 Steps to Reverse Aging (co-authored with Deepak Chopra, M.D.). Dr. Simon is a keynote speaker for the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, California Medical Association, Harvard Medical School, and other prestigious institutions.