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Pain and sleep disturbance

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by AkashVerma, Feb 2, 2023.

  1. AkashVerma

    AkashVerma Peer Supporter

    I have got a strange relationship between sleep and pain. Whenever my sleep gets slightly disturbed even 10 or 15 minutes for whatever reason, my pain shoots up in the daytime. My pain also flares when I got sleep less than 7.5 hours, even if the difference is just 15 or 20 minutes. Sometimes, My sleep gets affected due to the arrival of the garbage collection truck or when my neighbor has partied with loud music. Occasionally one or two bad nights of sleep every month without any reason also make my pain worse. As a result, I am overly obsessed with getting a perfect night's sleep which I know is impossible to achieve. I am also aware that It is conditioned response. But I am confused about how to break this vicious conditioning.
    I want some help from the community on How to teach my brain that occasional minor sleep disturbances are common or normal and there is no reason to create or worse pain.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart. Insomnia has been the most difficult TMS symptom for me to keep in check. I've had success, but can easily backslide.

    In my experience, the most important factor in overcoming insomnia is Outcome Independence. As you have pointed out in your post, the obsession with getting perfect sleep is the problem. For me I found that this issue was rooted in my perfectionism (which stems from low self-esteem), which created a kind of performance anxiety. I had this false belief that unless I had a certain number of hours of sleep, I would be incapable of functioning to the level I desired. I had to re-program my mind that I can do fine without what I believe is the requisite hours of sleep. What makes insomnia so hard to overcome is that we can't make ourselves sleep, and the harder we try the more elusive it becomes. Sleep is about letting go, and that can be very hard for many of us TMS personalities.

    I've done a lot of expressive writing on this topic to get at my fears and to reprogram my brain that whether I sleep well or not, I'll be fine. It's about feeling safe and trusting that our higher brain can override our primitive brain, which is trying to keep us safe in a misguided way. Just keep giving yourself those messages and accept that an occasional night of poor sleep is not a big deal.
    Sita, Mr Hip Guy, AkashVerma and 2 others like this.
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Everything that Ellen has said, 100%.

    And two techniques that have helped me with the quality of my sleep:

    - Don't check the clock at any time between whenever you go to bed and whenever you need to get up. This is very freeing, because the brain has no information over which to obsess, so you might as well empty your mind of thoughts, start your favorite relaxing breath technique, and just go back to sleep. Do whatever it takes to accomplish this so that it is not easy to check the time: turn your clock facing away from you or switch the display to total dark and of course turn off any ceiling projection feature.

    - Try doing a short pre-sleep meditation, in which you tell your poor TMS brain that for whatever time is left, you can have a restful sleep. End your meditation by visualizing yourself waking up in the morning and feeling refreshed after a good night's sleep. This whole thing only needs to take a couple of minutes in combination with some pre-sleep calming breaths.

    In addition, do NOT wear your smart watch to bed! Gah - they're as bad as social media - obsessive, addictive, and perfectly designed to induce TMS in the perfectionist personality!

    I stumbled across this very cool "virtual relaxation room" web site from U of Nevada: https://www.unr.edu/counseling/virtual-relaxation-room (Virtual Relaxation Room)
    Each of six pages on different mindbody topics is short and easy to follow, which makes it very accessible for busy TMSers.
    Sita, Ellen and AkashVerma like this.

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