We only have one body. The correlation between sleep and pain can play a major role in our health. We often can take it for granted that we are healthy (or at least somewhat healthy). BUT, for those who may not be the perfect picture of health, there are some things we should consider.   For most individuals, these considerations involve exercising and healthy eating, but sleep is equally (if not more) important. One of the best things you can do for your body is to try and get enough sleep. In fact, did you know that there is a correlation between sleep and pain?

Correlation between sleep and pain.

Some people sleep longer because they are in pain or their medication promotes longer sleep, while others are restless or cannot sleep at all. Pain affects the way a person sleeps, the position a person sleeps in, and the quality of sleep. A lack of sleep can intensify both acute and chronic pain, not to mention it can put you in a bad mood the following day! Did you know that there is a correlation between sleep and pain? People who suffer from chronic pain may experience sleep disorders. In fact, pain is one of the causes of insomnia.


Some of the symptoms associated with sleep disorders include restless sleep, waking up frequently throughout the night, problems with actually falling asleep, waking up too early in the morning, and overall poor quality of sleep. The consistent interruption of sleep can stimulate (NO PUN INTENDED) a cycle of sleep deprivation and increased pain. So therefore, the less sleep a person gets, the more intense their painful problem can become.

correlation between sleep and pain

If pain is affecting your sleep quality, follow these guidelines and the next time someone says that they didn’t sleep well last night, you can say:  “did you know that there is a correlation between sleep and pain?” The first step to take is to assess the sleeping environment and lifestyle habits. Ask yourself this:

  • Is the bedroom a quiet place and are all lights switched off? Is there a television or laptop (and associated glare) in the bedroom?  The light emitted from a TV, cell phones, tablets and computers can contribute to restlessness.
  • What are you sleeping on? How old is the mattress? (A new mattress is indicated every 7 years). Does your pillow provide enough support for your neck and head? Do I need a specialty pillow to promote postural alignment? Do I need a pillow between my legs for support?
  • What are you eating and drinking before you go to sleep? Are you consuming sugary or caffeinated beverages late in the day? (early afternoon for some is too early!!). Are you eating big meals close to bedtime?
  • Are you sleeping at the same time every day? (you should try to get on a regular schedule of going to bed as well as getting out of bed in the morning). Are you avoiding stressful conversations or situations before going to bed?

By facilitating an environment that is quiet and comfortable, you will set the stage for sound sleep. A sleep mask and/or a “white noise” machine can be of benefit. Most smart phones have free apps which can be installed for white noise as well. The Physical Therapy team at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy can also help you sleep better by teaching you techniques such as  progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic relaxation and visualization. Did you know that there is a correlation between sleep and pain? We can break that vicious cycle of pain causing disrupted sleep which in turn causes more intense pain. We can reduce or eliminate your painful condition with state of the art revolutionary pain relief strategies such as: or

If pain is affecting your sleep patterns, the physical therapy team at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy can play a big role in the recovery process. The combination of pain and lack of sleep creates a vicious cycle that can get progressively worse, if not addressed or if left untreated.

Fortunately, the physical therapists at Back In Motion,  can identify the root cause of pain and create a fast acting plan of action for lasting pain relief. Using a combination of techniques and revolutionary technology at our state of the art facility, the therapist will help reduce muscle tension. This will help you sleep better. A therapist will also design a stretching and strengthening program to restore muscle balance and reduce pain; restoring normal sleep patterns. We have both male and female licensed massage therapists at Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy as well. Often times our Physical Therapists may recommend massage therapy to promote relaxed musculature and to minimize muscle spasm.

If you have pain and are losing sleep over it, reach out to us.  Back In Motion, Sarasota Physical Therapy are your premier physical therapy providers. We’ll help you reduce pain and sleep better. We don’t want you to lose any more sleep over this.  It is time for you to start living a pain-free life. Remember, as always for every condition that we treat, NO Doctor prescription required for Medicare and most other insurances as the state of Florida is a Direct Access state for Physical Therapy. We are a preferred provider for Medicare in Sarasota, Florida and are in-network participating providers for most other insurances including Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Call us today at (941) 925-2700.

About the Author Tim Burnell, PT

Tim Burnell is the Lead Physical Therapist at Back In Motion Sarasota. He has over two decades of clinical experience. He takes pride in getting to the root of the problem which helps get his clients better...Faster! He is a family man & enjoys spending time with the love of his life, Monique. He has 2 children & a dog named Annie. Tim's son, Andre' is 11 years old and his daughter Joliebelle (nicknamed Pooky) is 7 years old. He enjoys visiting his wife's side of the family in New Orleans and his side of the family in Vermont. Tim grew up in Vermont, went to Physical Therapy School in Alabama, got his first job at Tulane Hospital in New Orleans and moved to Sarasota Florida after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

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