Sleep Issues

Unfortunately, sleep difficulties often go along with chronic pain.  Even in people without pain, occasional sleep problems are common – 75% of people report occasional sleep problems.  But for people with chronic pain, sleep problems can be worse, for reasons which include…

  • Pain.  Falling asleep can be difficult because pain keeps you awake, or pain can wake you up in the middle of the night.
  • Decreased activity.  If you aren’t able to do very much during the day, you might not be tired as night.
  • Anxiety and worry.  These 2 notorious culprits can make falling asleep difficult if you worry about things when your head hits the pillow.  Or, if you wake up during the night, you might start worrying about things and not be able to get back to sleep.  Things unfortunately often look worse in the wee hours of the morning.  You might wake up earlier than you’d like to and not be able to fall back to sleep.
  • Depression.  This often accompanies anxiety and worry.  And actually, one of the symptoms we look for to diagnose depression is sleep problems, especially waking up earlier than you’d like.  We call this “early morning awakening.”
  • Sleep problems as part of your medical disorder.  For example, difficulty sleeping or sleep that doesn’t refresh you (“non-restorative sleep”) is part of the disease of fibromyalgia.
  • Medication.  Although most of the medications that are used to treat chronic pain are sedating, a few can cause sleep problems.

How to Get Better Sleep