What Is Painsomnia ??
Last updated: January 2022
If you are reading this article wondering what painsomnia is, consider yourself lucky. Many of us with chronic illnesses are very familiar with insomnia. I used to think I knew insomnia too until I met painsomnia, insomnia's awful sister.
In 2018 I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a form of autoimmune arthritis. I had been collecting a long list of medical conditions for a while, and this one was the cherry on the cake. Well, it was the most painful, at least! My diagnosis led me to find myself, but not without understanding what painsomnia was all about.
What is painsomnia?
Painsomnia is being unable to sleep because you're in SO much pain. These symptoms worsen at night often because of inflammation of some sort that tends to be worse in the evening.
The pain is so intense it makes it impossible to think of anything else. Becoming relaxed enough to fall asleep is out of the question, leaving sufferers not only awake for hours on end but in horrific pain too.
Painsomnia disrupts life
This kind of pain on its own can cause a lot of emotional turmoil. And pairing intense pain with a lack of sleep, or furthermore, broken sleep and high pain levels can really disrupt someone's life.
On nights when painsomnia was present for me, I was not the mom I wanted to be the following day, and I have become very well versed in apologizing for my snappy comments at my husband. Sleep is vital!
There are daytime effects too
Painsomnia not only makes the evenings feel like a real-life nightmare, but when broken sleep patterns interrupt our natural circadian rhythm, there can be major negative outcomes during our daytime too.
After my ankylosing spondylitis diagnosis, I spent months and months crying myself to sleep after facing the most debilitating hip joint pain every night. I didn't understand my body well at the time and pushed myself way too hard each day.
It took me a long time to learn how to truly respect my chronic illness and the limitations my physical body was able to handle. Pushing it further every day only left me unable to recharge at night, and it actually set me back each day.
Understanding my body's limits
The power of understanding our bodies is huge. These days, I have very few nights affected by painsomnia. However, that's not to say they are a thing of the past. The power is understanding how and when it's time to rest, when I can push forward, and when I can't.
When I can push further, and I know it might result in a hard night, I am now aware and try and implement my painsomnia tools ahead of time!
What do you do at night when you can't sleep?