Sleep disorders like insomnia and restless leg syndrome are associated with chronic pain, research suggests.

It’s common for patients who suffer from chronic pain and who aren’t getting good, consistent rest to believe that their physical discomfort is interrupting their sleeping patterns, says Dr. Ann Romaker, director of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center Sleep Medicine Center.

New research published in November in the journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders suggests that the relationship between sleep disorders and chronic pain is more complicated, Romaker says. The findings supplement a number of studies that suggest poor sleep is associated with a raft of health problems, including increased risks for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cognitive difficulties, mood disorders and even cancer, she says.