Researchers at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, have found that the positive or negative thoughts of those who suffer from chronic pain can influence their sleep and, as a result, their wellness.
Negative thoughts about insomnia and pain—for example, “I’ll never be able to get to sleep with this pain”—can be managed with cognitive behavioral therapy, the researchers found.
Scientists created a scale to measure beliefs about sleep and pain and then determined their actual quality of sleep. Those who believed they wouldn’t be able to sleep due to pain, didn’t. The insomnia then led to increased pain, a news release from the university says.
“Thoughts can have a direct and/or indirect impact on our emotion, behavior and even physiology,” says Nicole Tang, the study’s lead author. “The way we think about sleep and its interaction with pain can influence how we cope with pain and manage sleeplessness. The new scale is developed to help us pick up those beliefs that have a potential role in worsening the insomnia and pain experience.”
The study was published in the September Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.