A recent National Pain Report story on fibromyalgia and sleep generated quite a bit of reader response on the importance of sleep to people who suffered from chronic pain.
The data on this issue are pretty clear – people in chronic pain sleep less.
According to the National Sleep Foundation in a poll they released earlier in 2015, people with chronic pain have an average sleep debt of 42 minutes compared to those who aren’t in pain.
Beyond sleep debt, self-reported sleep quality and stress levels underscore the effects of pain on sleep.
Sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.
Those with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems impact their daily lives. Among people who’ve had sleep difficulties in the past week, more than half of those with chronic pain say those difficulties interfered with their work. That drops to 23 percent of those without pain. People with pain are also far more apt than others to report that lack of sleep interferes with their mood, activities, relationships and enjoyment of life overall.
Now chronic pain patients know that pain interrupts sleep and the lack of sleep often makes pain worse.
That may be why the story we did on a company (Tonix Pharmaceutical) that has a drug in development that is designed to treat restorative sleep for fibromyalgia victims generated such response.
In our reader comments, Susan Salo wrote” “I have PTSD and Fibromyalgia. I don’t know what restorative sleep is. This has been since 2000. This (the drug mentioned in the story) would be a great break through.”
Dawn Holley Norton is another reader who says she has trouble sleeping: “I have to take THREE Unisom just to fall asleep and even then I wake up feeling SO tired. Sleep? Ha, I haven’t had deep restful restorative sleep since 2000.”
The reaction on the National Pain Report Facebook page was much the same.
The headline of the story asked Can Fibromyalgia and Sleep Go Together? The overall response from some of our Facebook followers was a resounding no.
“Sleep quality and duration should be considered a vital sign, as they are strong indicators of overall health and quality of life,” said Kristen Knutson, PhD, National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America™ Poll Scholar. “Extremely long or short sleep durations are associated with more specific conditions, but for many people who are close to getting the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, getting just 15 to 30 minutes more sleep a night could make difference in how they feel.”