Lurie Daniel Favors Show, Men's Health, Pain, Sleep

Men’s Health: Pain & Sleep

Life can become difficult when we experience pain and have trouble sleeping. These challenges can be even more daunting for African American men[1]. In this blog post, we will explore the connection between pain and insomnia in this specific demographic and offer strategies to manage these issues. We will also discuss holistic approaches and the potential benefits of CBD to inspire hope and promote well-being[2]. Additionally, we will learn about the importance of sleep duration and how pain and lack of sleep can affect us physically, emotionally, and mentally[3]. Let's talk about it 🙂


Understanding Pain and Insomnia


Chronic pain affects people from all walks of life, especially African American men. Research from the National Institutes of Health shows that African American adults have higher rates of pain compared to their white counterparts[4]. This could be due to factors like differences in income, culture, and access to healthcare. It is important to address these disparities to find effective ways to manage pain in African American men.


Insomnia, which is difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, adds to the challenges faced by African American men. While we have limited specific data on insomnia among African American men, studies indicate that African Americans, in general, are more likely to experience sleep problems compared to other racial and ethnic groups[5]. Understanding the impact of insomnia in this demographic is crucial for improving sleep and overall well-being.


The Connection Between Pain and Insomnia


Pain and insomnia are closely related, and they can worsen each other. African American men dealing with chronic pain often struggle to get restful sleep because of discomfort and the emotional burden it brings. At the same time, a lack of quality sleep can make pain feel worse, making it harder to manage and cope with chronic pain[6].

Exploring the Impact of Sleep Duration


Getting enough sleep is important for our overall well-being. While individual sleep needs may vary, experts recommend that adults aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night[7]. However, when we experience pain or insomnia, it can be challenging to achieve this ideal sleep duration.


Studies show that people who have pain or struggle with sleep often fall short of the recommended sleep duration[8]. Not getting enough sleep can have significant effects on our physical, emotional, and mental health.


Physically, not getting enough sleep can hinder our body's ability to heal and rejuvenate. It can also increase inflammation, weaken the immune system, and raise the risk of chronic conditions[9]. Emotionally, insufficient sleep can lead to changes in mood, increased irritability, and difficulty managing stress[10]. Mentally, it can affect our ability to think clearly, remember things, concentrate, and make decisions[11]. Recognizing the importance of sufficient sleep and addressing pain and insomnia can improve our quality of life.


Drawbacks of Traditional Pain Medications


Traditional pain medications, like opioids (such as oxycodone and hydrocodone), have significant drawbacks that may make them undesirable for men to use. These medications are commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain. However, they come with risks of addiction, abuse, and serious side effects.


One common side effect of opioid medications is sexual dysfunction, which can greatly impact men's quality of life. Drugs like morphine and codeine have been associated with decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and hormonal imbalances[12]. These side effects can further add to the emotional burden experienced by men dealing with chronic pain.


Holistic Approaches for Pain Management


Recognizing the drawbacks of traditional pain medications, many individuals, including African American men, are embracing holistic approaches to manage pain. These approaches focus on the whole person, considering physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Some holistic treatment options include:


  1. Physical Therapy: This form of therapy aims to improve mobility, strength, and flexibility through exercises, stretches, and manual techniques. Physical therapy can alleviate pain and improve physical well-being.

  2. Mind-Body Techniques: Practices like meditation, yoga, and tai chi promote relaxation, reduce stress, and increase body awareness. These techniques can help manage pain and improve sleep quality.

  3. Acupuncture: By stimulating specific points on the body, acupuncture taps into the body's natural healing abilities to relieve pain. This ancient practice has shown promise in managing chronic pain and improving sleep patterns.

  4. Herbal Remedies: Certain herbs, such as turmeric, ginger, and valerian root, have anti-inflammatory and relaxation properties. Including these herbs in the diet or using them as supplements can provide natural pain relief and support better sleep.


Drawbacks of Sleep Medications

While holistic approaches and natural remedies can be beneficial for managing sleep problems, some individuals may turn to pharmaceutical sleep treatments to address their insomnia. It is important to understand the potential side effects associated with these medications. Let's explore some common pharmaceutical sleep treatments and their potential drawbacks:


  1. Sedative-Hypnotics: Sedative-hypnotic medications, such as benzodiazepines (e.g., diazepam) and non-benzodiazepines (e.g., zolpidem), are commonly prescribed for sleep problems. These medications work by depressing the central nervous system to induce sleep. However, they can have side effects, including drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination. Moreover, sedative-hypnotics have the potential for dependency and withdrawal symptoms when used for an extended period.

  2. Antidepressants: Certain antidepressant medications, such as trazodone and amitriptyline, are sometimes prescribed off-label to aid sleep. These medications may help improve sleep quality but can also cause side effects like drowsiness, dry mouth, and daytime grogginess. It is important to note that antidepressants should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and not solely for the purpose of sleep improvement.

  3. Over-the-Counter Sleep Aids: Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids, typically containing antihistamines like diphenhydramine, are readily available without a prescription. While they can help with occasional sleeplessness, they can also cause next-day drowsiness, confusion, and dry mouth. Prolonged use of OTC sleep aids can lead to tolerance, meaning higher doses may be needed for the same effect.

  4. Melatonin Supplements: Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles. Melatonin supplements are often used as a natural sleep aid. Although generally considered safe, potential side effects of melatonin supplements include daytime sleepiness, headache, and dizziness. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplements, including melatonin.

  5. Prescription Sleep Medications: Some prescription sleep medications, such as eszopiclone and zaleplon, are prescribed for short-term use to treat insomnia. These medications can be effective in promoting sleep, but they may cause side effects like dizziness, headache, and gastrointestinal disturbances[6]. Additionally, there is a risk of dependency and rebound insomnia when discontinuing these medications.


Holistic Approaches for Sleep


In addition to pharmaceutical sleep treatments, there are several holistic approaches that can be effective in promoting healthy sleep patterns. These approaches take into account the mind, body, and lifestyle factors that can influence sleep. Let's explore some holistic approaches for improving sleep:


  1. Sleep Hygiene: Sleep hygiene refers to adopting healthy habits and creating a sleep-friendly environment. Some key practices include:

  • Establishing a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

  • Creating a relaxing bedtime routine to signal to your body that it's time to wind down.

  • Creating a comfortable sleep environment that is cool, dark, and quiet.

  • Avoiding stimulating activities, such as intense exercise and electronic device use, close to bedtime.

  • Limiting caffeine and nicotine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening.

  1. Relaxation Techniques: Engaging in relaxation techniques before bedtime can help calm the mind and prepare the body for sleep. Some effective techniques include:

  • Deep breathing exercises: Taking slow, deep breaths can activate the body's relaxation response and reduce stress.

  • Progressive muscle relaxation: Tensing and relaxing different muscle groups can release physical tension and promote relaxation.

  • Mindfulness meditation: Focusing on the present moment and observing thoughts without judgment can help quiet the mind and induce relaxation.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I): CBT-I is a structured therapy approach that addresses the thoughts, behaviors, and habits that contribute to sleep difficulties. It aims to identify and change negative sleep patterns and promote healthy sleep habits. CBT-I may involve techniques such as stimulus control, sleep restriction, and cognitive restructuring to improve sleep quality and quantity.

  2. Herbal Remedies: Certain herbs and botanicals have been traditionally used to promote relaxation and improve sleep. Some commonly used herbal remedies include:

  • Chamomile: Known for its calming properties, chamomile tea or supplements can help promote relaxation and sleep.

  • Valerian root: Valerian is believed to have sedative effects and may be used as a natural sleep aid.

  • Lavender: The scent of lavender has been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.

  1. Lifestyle Factors: Certain lifestyle choices can significantly impact sleep quality. Some factors to consider include:

  • Regular exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and promote better sleep. However, it's important to avoid intense exercise close to bedtime, as it can have a stimulating effect.

  • Managing stress: Stress can interfere with sleep. Incorporating stress-management techniques such as yoga, tai chi, or journaling into your daily routine can help reduce stress levels and improve sleep.

  • Creating a sleep-conducive environment: Making adjustments to your bedroom, such as ensuring a comfortable mattress and pillows, reducing noise, and optimizing temperature, can create an environment that is conducive to sleep.


Holistic approaches for sleep focus on addressing the underlying causes of sleep problems and promoting overall well-being. These approaches empower individuals to take an active role in improving their sleep by adopting healthy habits, managing stress, and creating a conducive sleep environment.


The Potential Benefits of CBD


CBD, a compound derived from the cannabis plant that does not cause a "high," has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties. CBD may help manage pain and improve sleep through various mechanisms:


  1. Anti-inflammatory Effects: CBD shows promise in reducing inflammation, which is often a primary contributor to chronic pain[8]. By reducing inflammation, CBD may relieve pain and enhance sleep quality.

  2. Pain Relief: CBD interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system, which regulates pain. By modulating this system, CBD may reduce pain perception and provide relief[9].

  3. Anxiety and Stress Reduction: CBD has properties that promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. By indirectly improving sleep quality and aiding in pain management, CBD can have positive effects[10].


Understanding the intricate relationship between pain and insomnia in African American men is crucial for providing support and treatment. By addressing disparities, embracing holistic approaches, and exploring potential therapeutic options like CBD, we can inspire hope and improve the well-being of African American men facing the challenges of pain and insomnia. By using a combination of strategies, you can better prepare yourself to experience restful sleep and find relief from pain. Make sure you consult with your healthcare provider prior to beginning any holistics or supplement program. And only buy CBD from trusted sources


1. National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. (n.d.). Health Disparities. Retrieved from


2. Ware, M. A., & Wang, T. (2018). Medical cannabis and pain: a clinical review. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, 65(6), 684-696.


3. National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? Retrieved from


4. Edwards, C. L., et al. (2016). The Association of Perceived Discrimination with Low Back Pain. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 39(6), 981-990.


5. Grandner, M. A., et al. (2012). Insomnia is associated with short sleep duration by ethnicity: The multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 10(3), 193-207.


6. Smith, M. T., & Haythornthwaite, J. A. (2004). How do sleep disturbance and chronic pain inter-relate? Insights from the longitudinal and cognitive-behavioral clinical trials literature. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 8(2), 119-132.


7. Hirshkowitz, M., et al. (2015). National Sleep Foundation's updated sleep duration recommendations: final report. Sleep Health, 1(4), 233-243.


8. Nagarkatti, P., et al. (2009). Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs. Future Medicinal Chemistry, 1(7), 1333-1349.


9. Russo, E. B. (2008). Cannabinoids in the management of difficult to treat pain. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, 4(1), 245-259.


10. Blessing, E. M., et al. (2015). Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 825-836.


U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2020). Medication Guide: Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) Tablets. Retrieved from


National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Misuse of Prescription Drugs. Retrieved from


Mayo Clinic. (2019). Antidepressants: Side Effects, Types, Uses, and More. Retrieved from

National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). Sleep