Sleep and pain


There is a reciprocal relationship between pain and sleep. Pain interferes with sleep and disturbed sleep contributes to the experience of pain. Because of this reciprocal relationship, it is important to ask patients experiencing pain about their sleep, and in those with sleep disorders, we need to be assessing the contribution of pain. It is also important to be aware that medications such as analgesics and antidepressants used in the management of chronic pain may also have an impact on sleep.

This course will provide an overview of the relationship between sleep and pain. The influence of analgesics for chronic pain on sleep and suggestions for the combined management of pain and insomnia will also be covered.

The learning objectives are:
•    To understand the importance of healthy sleep.
•    To understand the reciprocal relationship between pain and sleep.
•    To be able to provide management options for those presenting with chronic pain and insomnia, focussing on non-pharmacological options.


Once you have completed this short course and quiz, please click 'submit' where you will be taken to the results page. From here you can print your certificate for 1 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hour.


This content was created by Dr Karen Falloon PhD, MBChB, FRNZCGP for the Goodfellow Unit (2018). It was reviewed by Dr Giresh Kanji, Musculoskeletal pain specialist.

The material is presented by the Goodfellow Unit (GFU), an accredited continuing medical education/ continuing professional development (CME/CPD) provider for the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners and functions under a tripartite agreement between the Goodfellow Foundation, the College and the University of Auckland. The Unit is located within the Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, and within the School of Population Health.


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