6 Strategies for Better Sleep Despite Chronic Pain

By Lauren Krouse
January 27, 2023

When you’re living with chronic pain, nights are often the worst. As you settle into bed and the usual daytime distractions fade away, the discomfort can become all-consuming. One in five Americans suffers from chronic pain, and most say they’re missing out on quality shut-eye because of it, per a recent Sleep in America survey by the National Sleep Foundation.

Jude Avril Duncan, a 28-year-old digital marketer, says she often struggles to fall and stay asleep when flare-ups from psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis arise, bringing with them heat, itchiness, aches and pains, or all of the above. “When you put them together, it’s even worse,” she says. “I can go from having eight hours of sleep per night to around three to four.”

Work-related pain is also a common trigger for sleepless nights. Tommy Fox, 29, a Richmond-based visual artist, says his hand pain tends to become worse after a long day in the studio, sanding and drilling wood or stapling canvas. “It can keep me up worrying,” he says. “My hands are my tools, and when they ache or feel numb, I question my ability to do the thing I love.”