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Why Sleep is an Effective Painkiller. 5 Tips for a Better Bedtime 

 March 19, 2021

By  Laura Warf

Did you know there is a special day dedicated to sleep education?
World Sleep Day, Friday 19th March 2021 is an annual event, intended to be a celebration of sleep and a call to action on important issues related to sleep.  It is held the Friday before Spring Equinox each year.

New research, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, finds that sleep deprivation increases sensitivity to pain by numbing the brain's painkilling response. So that means the less you sleep, the more pain or discomfort you may feel in your body.

One in 3 adults in North America, or 35 percent of the adult population, do not get enough sleep. Do you fall into this category?

The effects of sleep deprivation on the brain are numerous, from cognitive impairment to hindering our ability to learn and form new memories.

Yet new research highlights another neurological effect of insufficient sleep: heightened sensitivity to pain. The brain assesses the pain differently without sufficient sleep. Regardless of the soft tissue injury, without a good night’s sleep, pain tolerance is lessened. (medicalnewstoday.com)

Lack of sleep can also cause inflammation in the body, which will often result in muscle aches and pains and can exacerbate inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. Be sure to check out the Mend my Back recipe book to help combat chronic inflammation with healthy recipe ideas. Adequate rest combined with proper movement and optimal nutrition is a winning formula to keep inflammation low and stay resilient.

It is reported that people living chronic back pain and muscle aches often do not have healthy sleeping patterns and low-quality sleep increase the risk of developing widespread pain, particularly as we age. We offer five tips below to help get a better night’s sleep.

The body’s healing processes are most active during sleep, so if you’re recovering from a soft-tissue injury, or have chronic aches and pains, not getting enough sleep may mean you need a longer time to recover.

There are wide-spread benefits to getting a good night’s sleep. When we are more rested, we feel better, have less pain sensitivity, we are able to make better decisions, have improved memory and heal faster.

Make your sleep rituals a priority to optimize your overall health and happiness.

Causes of pain might include:

  • Muscle or joint injury
  • Chronic conditions such as arthritis
  • Over-training for sports
  • Poor posture or non-ergonomic working environment during the day
  • Body muscle weaknesses and imbalances.

Fast Tips for Better Sleep

  • Giving yourself a set bedtime is a good place to start. As well as setting an alarm to get up in the morning. Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to fully rest and recover physically and mentally.
  • Sometimes an un-restful night sleep is caused by poor sleeping position or an unsupported mattress. Refer to the MMB lifestyle foundations video on how to get a better night's sleep with the use of pillows and cushions to support your body as a side-sleeper or a back sleeper. We also explore best positions for sleep.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks in the evening. Limit them after 2 p.m. You could try a wind-down ritual in the evening to relax your body and mind. We suggest a warm bath, a sleepy-time tea containing valerian or chamomile, and reading an enjoyable book.
  • Avoid electronic devices in the evening especially an hour before bed. The stimulation and the blue light screen affect the brain making it more difficult for you to fall sleep and stay asleep.
  • Try slow, deep abdominal breathing. Rhythmic breathing has calming mind-body effects and may help alleviate pain and stress, promoting sleep. Research indicates that taking slow and deep breaths before bedtime can help you get to sleep faster and fall back asleep in case you wake up during the night. Try counting to 5 as you inhale, pause for for 3 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3 seconds and repeat for 10 rounds. Notice how even just 3 minutes of rhythmic breathing can make a positive difference in your well-being.

We’ve got your back,
Laura and Ian

Laura Warf


Laura Warf is the founder of the School of Happiness, an online Holistic Wellness Center. Laura's methods are based on tools from ancient teachings to today’s current research that will inspire others to take charge of their complete well-being by following 8 essential elements to health and happiness. She is a passionate wellness educator and mind-body specialist offering services in yoga, meditation, energetic balancing, and fitness conditioning. Visit www.LauraWarf.com & www.SchoolofHappiness.ca

Laura Warf

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