Empty, unmade bed

Sleep disturbance seems to be one of the most common and problematic side effects of experiencing pain. In fact, problems sleeping are among the biggest complaints that I hear from patients each day. There are often many reasons for this. Arousal mechanisms, such as what can come from episodes of breakthrough pain in the middle of the night, can cause untimely and unwanted wake-ups. Arousal can also come about as a result of emotional...

One of the biggest complaints that I hear from patients who see me with complex chronic pain problems is that they don’t sleep well. In fact, outside of the pain itself, it seems as though insomnia is often their most dreaded problem. Unfortunately, some of the most common treatments for pain can also become factors that contribute to a lack of good quality sleep.

Melatonin is best known as an over-the-counter sleep aid supplement. It is an important naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland which is located inside the brain. Melatonin helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythms so that when its levels rise, it signals the body that it is nighttime and therefore time to fall asleep.

Emergency vehicle

Witnessing a traumatic event can produce a range of emotional reactions in both children and adults, from sadness to an inability to function that requires professional help, according to mental health experts.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have added to evidence that too little sleep and too much weight go together, this time in teenagers.

Sleep problems are the second-most common complaint (after pain) that I hear from my patients. That’s no surprise, for we treasure those hours of sleep. From the moment we enter the world, sleep is a source of comfort and relief from the trials and tribulations of wet, smelly diapers and suction bulbs shoved up our noses.

As infants, sleeping in our mothers’ arms was pure bliss. As we get older, sleep offers both a respite from the...