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Improving Sleep When You Have Chronic Pain

Topic Overview

If you have chronic pain, such as with fibromyalgia or complex regional pain syndrome, you may have a hard time sleeping or you may wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed. Some experts believe poor sleep can make pain worse.

Getting a good night's sleep may help.

  • Practice good sleeping habits. Go to bed only when you are sleepy, and get up at the same time each day, whether you are rested or not.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine for 4 to 6 hours or longer before bedtime. These can lead to poor sleep.
  • Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
  • Do not read, eat, work, or watch television in bed. Use your bed only for sleeping and sex.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
  • Make sure your mattress provides good support. Use a neck support pillow to stabilize your head and neck during sleep.
  • Eliminate or block out all sound and light that may disturb your sleep. Try using a sleep mask and earplugs to help you sleep.
  • If you lie awake in bed for longer than 15 minutes, get up, leave the bedroom, and do something quiet (read or listen to music) until you are sleepy again.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Greenwald, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Last Revised January 9, 2013

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