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Sleep and Pain

Most people understand the value of a good night’s sleep. Waking up after a good night’s sleep, feeling recharged, refreshed and ready for the day ahead is the way that we all want to start our day.

For a lot of people suffering with persistent pain, a good night’s sleep is something that they don’t get to enjoy and may not even be able to remember the last time they actually had a decent sleep.

The pain itself, the worry it causes, the side-effects of medication, the difficulty getting comfortable or simply the fact that there is nothing else to think about when it's quiet and dark, can mean that going to bed can be daunting for people who suffer from persistent pain.

That’s definitely how I feel, but what can I do?

Well, firstly it’s important for you to know that improving your sleep is something that you can do and that it can have a positive effect on your pain.

Simply being told “you need to sleep better” is not likely to work, just like telling someone “you need to lose weight”. However, what is often very useful is to recognise if sleeping is an issue for you and then you can start to explore some of the things that might help.


Can better sleep really help my pain?

Yes, although getting a better night’s sleep can often be difficult and might need some work to help you get there. An improved night’s sleep can help your pain levels (Krause et al. 2019).  

OK, what can I do? 

There are lots of great resources available to help you look at how you can sleep better. The ones below are some of the best.


How to Sleep Better


Krause A.J., Prather, A.A.,  Wager, T.D., Lindquist, M.A. & Walker, M.P. (2019). The pain of sleep loss: brain characterization in humans. Journal of Neuroscience,  39 (12) 2291-2300; DOI: (accessed 15/04/2021).

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