The impacts of pain-related sleep loss on millions of Americans are far-reaching. The problem is a notable one given the number of Americans who suffer from pain. The 2015 Sleep in America TM Poll finds that 21 percent of Americans experience chronic pain and 36 percent have had acute pain in the past week. Those combine to a majority of the nation's adult population, 57 percent, leaving 43 percent who report being pain free.
Pain joins two related concerns – stress and poor health – as key correlates of shorter sleep durations and worse sleep quality. But there are paths to resolving the problem: The sleep gap narrows sharply among those who make sleep a priority.
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.
By contrast, there’s no overall sleep debt for those without pain – but significant numbers even in this group do have sleep problems. About one in three of those with no pain don’t always or often get a good night’s sleep or the sleep they need to feel their best, or have had trouble falling or staying asleep in the past week. Those problems rise even higher among individuals who do have chronic or acute 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