Sleep hygiene strategies for individuals with chronic pain: a scoping review

BMJ Open. 2023 Feb 2;13(2):e060401. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-060401.


Objectives: Up to a quarter of the world's population experience chronic pain, which, in addition to interfering with daily activities and waking function, is often associated with poor sleep. Individuals experiencing poor sleep are often encouraged to implement sleep hygiene strategies. However, current sleep hygiene strategies have not been developed considering the unique challenges faced by individuals with chronic pain and therefore they might not be as effective in this population. The aim of this scoping review is to map the state of the existing literature examining sleep hygiene strategies in individuals with chronic pain.

Design: This scoping review included a search of four online databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO and CINAHL) to identify articles examining the use of sleep hygiene strategies in populations with chronic pain.

Results: Thirty articles investigated at least one sleep hygiene strategy in individuals with chronic pain, with improvements to sleep reported for six sleep hygiene strategies (education, exercise, limiting alcohol use, limiting tobacco use, prebed state and sleep environment). However, the timing of these strategies was often not reported which limits the degree to which these strategies can be generalised for use as a presleep strategy.

Conclusion: This scoping review examined the existing literature focusing on sleep hygiene strategies for people with chronic pain. There are limitations to the methodology of the existing literature and gaps in our understanding of sleep hygiene strategies in some chronic pain conditions that must be addressed in future research before the effectiveness of these strategies can be understood.


Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Chronic Disease
  • Chronic Pain* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Hygiene*