Sleep Tips for Those Dealing with Chronic Pain

This is an article by Dylan Foster. I offer it with the author’s permission for informational purposes. The author and I have no financial involvement.


Sleep Tips for Those Dealing with Chronic Pain

If you’re one of the millions of people dealing with chronic pain, you’re all too aware of how it affects your daily life. You’d think (and hope) that your warm bed at the end of the day would be a reprieve, but when the pain doesn’t stop when you lie down, it can result in a restless night. If you’re looking for natural ways to improve your sleep, the following tips can bring much-needed relief.

Update Your Mattress

As The Healthy explains, the general rule is that you should replace your mattress every eight to 10 years, but the passage of time isn’t the only sign it’s time for an upgrade. You may have noticed that its appearance has changed, and it is sporting lumps, bumps, and sags, and perhaps it even looks a little dingy and has an odor you can’t get rid of. Maybe you even sleep better in the spare bedroom or on the couch.

All this points to the fact that you desperately needing a new mattress, but you might find the options overwhelming. Think about your sleep style and the level of firmness you prefer. Firm mattresses, such as the DreamCloud, are ideal for those who sleep on their back, stomach, or a combination, offering extra support so that your spine doesn’t curve unnaturally. Soft mattresses, such as the Saatva, are great for those who sleep on their side to prevent pressure on the hips and shoulders.

Match Your Pillow to Your Sleeping Position

All pillows aren’t created equal, and unfortunately, yours may not be the best pillow for you to use. To prevent additional pain and offer the most support for your head and neck, Spine-Health recommends matching your pillow to your sleeping position.

As an example, back sleepers need a pillow that supports the natural curve of the spine with support under the head, neck, and shoulders. You also might find it helps to place a pillow under your knees to relieve back pressure. Side sleepers should opt for a thicker pillow, as well as a pillow underneath the knees to keep your spine in a natural position. Stomach sleeping isn’t recommended at all, especially for those with chronic pain, but a flat pillow (or no pillow at all) is best if you must sleep this way.

All this is to say that you should do your research, read reviews, and test pillows to find the best fit for you.

Set the Tone for Sleep

Sleep should be as easy as crawling into bed and shutting your eyes, except it isn’t. This is why you need to set the tone for sleep which will help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. For starters, lower the thermostat at night to a cool 60 to 67 degrees. Why? Your body temperature drops as you drift off to sleep, and lowering the temperature can help the process along. If the higher utility bill for air conditioning in the summertime has you worried, use a fan, invest in a cooling blanket, or open the window to take advantage of cool nights. In the wintertime, depending on where you live, you may come out ahead.

Too much light can disturb your sleep cycle as well, whether it stems from the glow of the night light in the bathroom or the television. Darkness signals to your body that it’s time to start producing melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone), but light delays this natural response. The blue light from electronics delays it even further, so power your devices down at night and use a red or orange night light if total darkness is too unsettling.

This next tip might sound obvious, but you may be guilty of going to bed when you aren’t tired, only to toss, turn, and stare at the ceiling. Get in the habit of going to bed when you start feeling sleepy, and you’ll likely find that your body has a natural bedtime.

Chronic pain is something you deal with on a daily basis. But remember, although pain can make sleep more difficult, it’s not impossible. There are several natural sleep methods you can explore to get the good night’s rest you’re after.

By Dylan Foster of



  1. Mona on November 10, 2019 at 3:23 am

    As someone who is sensitive to every lump and bump, I highly recommend a firm memory foam mattress. I think I’ve had mine for 15 years now. No more springs means no more bruising; no more button tufted mattress either. I got a waterproof cover for the mattress and a waterproof mattress pad as well. It did not guarantee I get a good night’s sleep, but it helped alleviate some of the issues I had with sleep. I saved big by getting mine from a discount store, and I went with the thickest one I could get. I sort of regret that now because I can’t lift it to tuck under the blankets, but I don’t think a thinner one would have done the job nearly as well.

  2. Kenneth Mckenna on November 24, 2019 at 12:45 am

    Chronic insomnia becomes a cumulative destruction of mental health and cognitive function in general. I’ve failed most all the meds offered to me. Not that I would want to take any type of benzos but since the CDC figured out they were putting people at risk for respiratory failure, they changed their stance on the use of any combination of pain meds and benzos. Of course for 14 years it was acceptable practice at the VA to treat me with daily klonopin, high doses of morphine, and sedative hypnotic benzos sleeping pills. Obviously it didn’t kill me. I have severe claustrophobia and it was like pulling teeth to be given sedation for a closed in lengthy M.R.I. I’m guessing when my insomnia causes a severe problem of some sort they’ll be some asinine rule or excuse as to why it has been untreated since the CDC decided to punish pain patients and reward heroin addicts and drug traffickers.

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