A new poll by the National Sleep Foundation finds that pain is a key factor in the gap between the amount of sleep Americans say they need and the amount they’re getting – an average 42 minute sleep debt for those with chronic pain and 14 minutes for those who’ve suffered from acute pain in the past week. The national, random-sample survey establishes the broad impacts of pain-related sleep loss on millions of Americans. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than four in 10 of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 17 percent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more likely than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships and enjoyment of life overall.
While both chronic and acute pain relate to lost sleep, the survey indicates that chronic pain is an especially powerful problem. Indeed, nearly one in four people with chronic pain, 23 percent, say they’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor, compared with just 6 percent of all others. But the poll also found that the sleep differential narrows significantly in patients who make sleep, and the adoption of good sleep habits a priority. Respondents who said they were very or extremely motivated to get enough sleep reported sleeping 36 more minutes per night across the week compared with others (7.3 vs. 6.7 hours). Even among those with pain, a higher motivation to get sleep was associated with longer sleep durations and better sleep quality. Read a news release from the National Sleep Foundation, with link to the poll results, here.