Does Your Pain Get Worse at Night and Is There Anything You Can Do About It?

Woman lying on a bed waking up suffering back ache at home or hotel roomIt’s possible that more than 50 million U.S. adults – that’s about one in five – experience chronic pain. The pain can fluctuate during the day, but for some, it is at its worst at night.

There is some data that suggest churning pain worsens at night, and in some cases, it can drastically interfere with sleep.


Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for two to three months, usually long after the initial onset of pain caused by an injury or illness. Sometimes the pain may even become permanent.

The pain can impact individual joints or muscles or certain parts of the body, like the back or neck. Persistent pain from conditions like arthritis or fibromyalgia may be even more difficult to deal with.

Symptoms of chronic pain can vary but often include a dull ache, shooting, burning, stabbing, shock-like pain, and sensations like tingling or numbness.

Hormones could play a role in why pain gets worse at night. Your body produces less cortisol at night, which is a hormone that has anti-inflammatory effects. Another factor could be that pain may follow a circadian rhythm, like your body’s internal 24-hour clock.
Nighttime pain is particularly problematic because it impacts sleep. Not getting sleep can make pain management much more difficult. Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased cytokine production, which can make the body more sensitive to pain.

There are some strategies that may help reduce pain at night.

Implementing a pre-bedtime relaxation routine may help prepare your mind and body for sleep. Spend at least 20 minutes before bed dedicated to relaxation to slow your heart and breathing rate to reduce flare-us risk.

A warm or cold shower, gentle stretches, yoga poses, or several minutes of deep breathing are worth a try.


Reframing thoughts may also help. If you are worried about the pain or when it will flare up, it can increase stress and anxiety when you should be getting ready for sleep.

Lastly, try to create a comfortable dark and cool sleeping environment.

If you’re awakened by pain, give your body some time to recover so you can fall back asleep. Listen to soft music or read (from a book or magazine, not a blue-light screen) to help you sleep. Counting your breaths may help, too.

Author Bio

About eight years ago, Mat Lecompte had an epiphany. He’d been ignoring his health and suddenly realized he needed to do something about it. Since then, through hard work, determination and plenty of education, he has transformed his life. He’s changed his body composition by learning the ins and outs of nutrition, exercise, and fitness and wants to share his knowledge with you. Starting as a journalist over 10 years ago, Mat has not only honed his belief system and approach with practical experience, but he has also worked closely with nutritionists, dieticians, athletes, and fitness professionals. He embraces natural healing methods and believes that diet, exercise and willpower are the foundation of a healthy, happy, and drug-free existence.