Chronic Pain & Sleep

Chronic pain can be challenging to live with, especially when relief from the pain is rare. Pain can make falling asleep and staying asleep feel almost impossible. Unfortunately, the vicious cycle of pain and lack of good quality sleep can cause an individual’s overall health and wellbeing to worsen.

There are numerous causes of chronic pain, but there are also many causes for increased pain at night. Of course, some causes for pain are well known, but not all the causes are as well known. The increased pain at night is like clockwork and gets increasingly worse around the same time every night. For anyone living with pain, you are not alone. It may be helpful to understand some of the reasons for the worsening of pain at night and possible ways to counteract the pain.

1. Body position can play a major factor in increased pain at night. Laying down to sleep causes your body weight to put pressure on your nerves that do not occur when you are upright during the day.

It might take time but trying to find another body position at night that does not increase pain is important. This is going to be different for each person depending on the cause of their pain. If the pain is knee pain, it could help to try a pillow between your knees at night to reduce the pressure on your knees. The type of mattress you have might be too soft or too hard and a different mattress may help.

2. Many people sleep better in cooler temperatures and struggle when it is too warm. Depending on the root cause of the pain, cooler temperatures can worsen pain no matter what time of day it is.

Experiment with different temperatures until you find the temperature that works the best for you. Finding the perfect temperature for your sleep may be difficult, but keeping a journal of your quality of sleep, your pain levels, and the temperature in the room is a good way to start.

3. At night we are more aware of the pain and less distracted by our daily responsibilities, such as work or school. This does not mean the pain is not real because the pain is very real, but during the night there is not anything to occupy our mind which allows us to focus more and notice the pain.

4. Hormone levels in our body contribute to how well we sleep. When we prepare ourselves for sleep, hormone levels, metabolism, and other biochemical process adjust. Hormone changes can increase pain creating a battle for sleep. Cortisol is a type of hormone that has anti-inflammatory effects. Cortisol levels decrease halfway through the sleep cycle that allows us to rest, but this can also heighten some forms of pain.

5. The timing and dosage of medication that helps control pain during the day start to wear off too soon. For some their biochemistry and symptoms may require a different dosage and or medication at night. Talking to your pain management doctor to determine the best course of action can help with the ability to sleep better.

It is crucial to establish and maintain a sleep routine that helps prepare your body for rest. During the day we are all over-stimulated and reducing this issue can help tremendously. Turning off any stimuli, such as the TV and other screens 1-2 hours before bed may help your mind and body relax. Practicing other things that may help you relax such as reading a book or taking a warm bath. Other things that may help your mind relax are meditation or deep breathing exercises as these can lower your stress and help reduce pain.

Thank you for visiting my site today. I hope you will find the information I have shared helpful. Even though I understand how challenging sleep is with chronic pain, there are ways to work around this and get a better night sleep. I am looking forward to reading your comments, which I will respond to as quickly as I can. I hope you are having a relaxing and safe weekend! Please never forget that I am always sending y’all LOTS of love, comfort, and MANY positive vibes!

Always, Alyssa

8 thoughts on “Chronic Pain & Sleep

  1. Thanks for this–I have terrible pain in my shoulder and I can’t seem to find a position that doesn’t aggravate it–I sleep with a pillow tucked under my arm for support. I’d give anything to sleep on my right side once in a while, but it hurts too much!

    Liked by 1 person

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