As natural as pain is, we also want to know what is causing the pain, giving us the chance to address it at its root.

While men have a higher pain tolerance than women, they still would like to know what brings discomfort to them, especially during sleep. If you want to learn what’s causing pain in sleep for men, it would be best to read this article.

Poor Mattress Choice

The kind of mattress you sleep on can adversely affect overall comfort during sleep. If the bed is too firm, it can push against bony prominences and cause pain. If the mattress is too soft, you might sink into your bed. Doing so will put your spine out of its normal anatomical alignment.

Not maintaining the correct spinal alignment increases tension in between spinal discs. It pulls on the tendons and ligaments, causing unnecessary micro-tears.

You know your mattress is causing your pain during sleep if the pain is the first thing you notice upon waking up. Tossing and turning in your bed throughout the night can also suggest bed-related pain. If your mattress is already nearing its eighth birthday, there is a good chance it can no longer support your body properly.


If this is what is causing you pain during sleep, you might want to invest in the right mattress. You can get a mattress for neck and back pain if these are your principal complaints. If it is your hips that are always painful during sleep, putting pillows to support them can help.

Prolonged Sleeping in One Position

While we change position several times during sleep, there is a good chance you have your favorite sleeping position. About three-quarters of us prefer to start our slumberland journey on our sides. Unfortunately, remaining in this position for several hours can cause pain on the side next to the bed.

Men are heavier than women. Sleeping on their side can push the body towards the mattress while the bed applies firm pressure in the opposite direction. It can compress the muscle tissues on that side of the body, causing discomfort and pain.

The same phenomenon happens if men sleep on their back or belly most of the time. Their weight bears down on their body, causing pain.

The wrong mattress can also complicate matters. A super-soft bed can make sleeping more painful for side sleepers because there is inadequate support to maintain spinal alignment in the side-lying position.

One way to address this is by using pillows to prop your body and maintain correct alignment. Choosing the right bed also helps.

Overexertion and Poor Body Mechanics

Just as men are physically stronger than women, they are also more vulnerable to muscle and soft tissue injuries due to overexertion and poor body mechanics.

Lifting a heavy object without observing proper body mechanics can strain the back muscles. Some sports and physical activities that men engage in can also cause muscle and soft tissue inflammation.

Prolonged sitting and standing without observing the correct posture can also lead to pain. The discomfort can persist for a few days, especially if you do nothing to mitigate it. You can still feel pain when you sleep.

Observing the correct posture and body mechanics can minimize pain occurrences. The same is true when sleeping. You also need to maintain your spine’s alignment and other body parts.


For example, a mattress for hip pain can help prevent your hips from rolling out of their alignment with the spine.

Knowing your physical limits and refraining from lifting things more than your body can handle also help.

Underlying Medical Condition

Occasional poor body mechanics, overexertion, and poor sleeping habits should not cause chronic pain during sleep, especially in a healthy man. That is why another possible explanation for pain in sleep for men is the presence of a musculoskeletal problem or other underlying medical condition.

  • Osteoarthritis

Playing physically demanding sports, especially those requiring repetitive and forceful joint movements, can increase joint wear and tear. The same is true with occupations involving a lot of joint movements. Joint injuries, genetic predisposition, and obesity can also contribute to the degeneration of your bone and joint tissues and lead to osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis can make it tough to leave the house – Joint Academy is a healthcare company that provides online physical therapy for chronic joint and back pain so that you can access treatment anywhere.

  • Frozen Shoulder

Doctors do not know why frozen shoulders occurs, especially in men. However, healthcare professionals say that people between 40 and 60 years old have a higher risk of getting the condition. If you have diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, or a thyroid problem, your risk for frozen shoulder increases, too.

  • Rotator Cuff Injury

Are you a carpenter or a painter? Do you have work that calls for repeated over-the-head arm movements? If so, there is a good chance your pain during sleep is due to a rotator cuff injury. It is a condition that affects your shoulders, making them painful even during sleep. Getting a mattress for shoulder pain can help minimize the pain.

  • Bursitis

If you notice redness, stiffness, swelling, and pain in your elbow joints, shoulder joints, knee joints, heel joints, or hip joints, you may have bursitis. Some of the activities that can predispose you to this condition include gardening, painting, carpentry, raking, shoveling, and scrubbing. Playing tennis, skiing, golfing, and baseball are also risk factors.

  • Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is indeed more common in women than in men. However, the condition can still produce pain, especially in the bones and muscles. Fibromyalgia in men is quite common among those who have a history of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Men with depression or mood disorders are also at an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia. The disease also runs in the family. As such, if you have parents or grandparents who have fibromyalgia, you may also have it.

Man lying in bed turning off an alarm clock in the morning at 7am. Attractive man sleeping in his bedroom. Annoyed man being awakened by an alarm clock in his bedroom

If any of these health conditions are causing pain during sleep, the best remedy is to talk to your medical professional. He can provide you with the correct pain management technique to help you achieve a more peaceful rest at night. However, it is essential to understand that painkillers are not the answer. Only by addressing the root cause will you be able to sleep pain-free.

Bottom Line

Pain is always a negative experience. When it occurs during sleep, pain can cause sleep deprivation and undermine your health. Knowing what’s causing pain in sleep for men empowers you to manage pain effectively and ensure better sleep quality. It can help you accomplish your goals better as a modern man.

About the Author

Sarah Reyes is the content manager at She manages a team of sleep experts who provide researched insights, guides, and alternative reviews on mattresses. Follow SleepMatters on Facebook here.