Does pain keep you awake at night? A new survey found that a surprising number of Americans are unable to get a full night’s sleep because of “painsomnia.” This Sleep Foundation survey was conducted online in June 2022. Results are from 1,250 participants aged 18 and older who lived in the United States.

Almost 98% of U.S. adults surveyed by the Sleep Foundation say they experience pain at least one night a week. About 85% said pain costs them at least two hours of sleep each night, with the average respondent losing six hours of sleep per week.

Back pain was the most common reason for painsomnia (56%), followed by neck pain (41%), head pain (32%) and knee pain (29%).

Adults who live with pain average just 6.7 hours of sleep per night, below the recommended 7 to 9 hours. A recent meta-analysis of 31 studies found that sleep loss increases our perception of pain and creates a vicious cycle. Poor sleep leads to more pain and vice versa.

When asked to rate their pain on a zero to ten scale, 73% of respondents with chronic pain said their nightly pain was at level 5 or higher. Over half (57%) said they wake up at least three times during the night, and 41% say they wake up earlier than they’d like.  Experts say fitful sleeping is less restorative and heightens pain sensitivity.

What are people doing about their poor sleep? Over half of respondents (56%) who lose sleep to pain have taken sleep aids in the past month. Melatonin was the most popular (49%), followed by Benadryl (diphenhydramine) (23%).

A surprising number said connecting with others in pain support groups helps them sleep. Although only 1 in 5 pain sufferers say they’ve participated in support groups, 91% of those who did say interacting with other painsomniacs helped them learn how to better manage, understand or improve their sleep.

In our program we look at how to manage sleep better. Mindfulness has been shown to be an effective way to manage insomnia.

We believe that pain and insomnia may be helped by our ACTforPAIN program

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