Pain and Sleep

Pain can play a significant factor in to quality of sleep a person gets unrefreshing, restless, sleep can, in many cases, be attributed to muscle or joint pain. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Polymyalgia rheumatica, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia can contribute to nighttime pain. Minor trauma, changes in weather, particularly cold and dampness often make the discomfort of these diseases worse. Oftentimes the effects of pain on the quality of sleep is not recognized, or associated with other causes (such as medications and the aging process).

How Does Pain Affect You Sleep?

  • Excessive nighttime pain can lead to excessive tossing and turning at night.
  • Increased number of restroom visits during nighttime hours.
  • Increased movement of legs or need to consistently move legs to relieve pain.
  • Increases in fatigue and lethargy during daytime hours leading to excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Anxiety and depression can result from untreated sleep related conditions resulting from to lack of restful sleep.

How Do You Find Out If Pain Is Affecting Your Sleep?

  • Overnight Sleep Study

  • Keep a sleep diary for 2 weeks:

  • List how many times you awaken during the night due to pain. List if you must take pain medications during sleep time to relieve pain.

  • List any pain that worsens during nighttime

  • Document how restless you feel you sleep was each night.

  • Document how refreshed you feel each morning.

Your doctor might recommend an overnight sleep study to monitor your sleep for one or two nights. This is, in conjunction with a sleep diary, will give your physician necessary information to determine how pain may be affecting your sleep and what treatments may work best for you.

Ways to Alleviate Pain Associated With Sleep

  • Application of heat and message to affected areas.
  • Change to a specially designed bed, such as a Tempurpedic mattress or adjustable bed.

Always consult with your physician about your concerns relating to sleep and pain. Do not begin any new treatment or increase medications for pain without first consulting with your physician.