6 Common Causes of Chest Pain When Lying Down

Chest pain when lying down can be a cause for concern, especially if it’s due to an underlying medical condition. However, the reasons why you may be experiencing chest pain can vary from obesity to acid reflux or even anxiety. That being said, you may be searching for an answer to “what are the most common causes of chest pain when lying down?” and “How can you get a good night’s rest when you’re experiencing a medical condition?” For starters, we recommend scheduling a comprehensive physical exam with a primary care doctor. After you receive a professional diagnosis, you should proceed with the treatments the experts recommend. This way, you’ll ensure that any medical conditions that you are experiencing does not worsen and that the symptoms are dealt with early on.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 6 most common causes of chest pain when lying down. This article will also discuss how to sleep when experiencing other symptoms or conditions, and answer popular questions like “How to sleep with pneumonia?” and “How to sleep with pleurisy?”. If you are ready to educate yourself on these topics, continue reading below.

The Most Common Risk Factors for Chest Pain

When it comes to chest pain, people typically assume that it is directly linked to cardiovascular illness. However, this may not always be the case. The truth is, chest pain can also be a symptom of anxiety disorders, GI issues like gastroesophageal reflux, or lung conditions like pulmonary embolism. Below, find some other common risk factors of chest pain:

  • Smoking and drinking alcohol
  • Stress
  • Poor sleep
  • A family history of chest pains
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Aging
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

If you are experiencing any form of chest pain, don’t ignore it. Instead, we urge you to contact the team of experts affiliated with Corus Advantage for a professional diagnosis and guidance.

The 6 Most Common Causes of Chest Pain When Lying Down

There are many possible causes for chest pain and some are more serious than others. These common causes include:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Pneumonia
  • Pleuritis (or pleurisy)
  • Obesity
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Panic or anxiety disorder

In the paragraphs below, we’ll explain some essential facts about each potential cause and the symptoms you may experience with each.

Sleep Apnea

If you or your partner snore all or most of the night, you may have sleep apnea. With this condition, the person’s tongue falls back as they sleep, leading to airway obstruction. Sleep apnea can often be the cause of night chest pains.

In some cases, professionals recommend using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway) device or a specialized mouthguard. Sometimes, sleeping with the head elevated or on one side can also help.

Frequent sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Headaches after waking up
  • Fatigue and exhaustion the next day
  • Sore throat after waking up
  • Finding it challenging to stay asleep
  • Snoring


An infection that results in the inflammation of the air sacs in your lungs is called pneumonia. It can develop in both lungs, but sometimes only one lunf is affected. The most common causes of pneumonia include fungi, bacteria, and viruses (the latter includes the SARS-CoV-2 or the virus responsible for COVID-19). One may even ask themselves how to sleep with pneumonia. It’s not easy, considering the symptoms of this condition include chest pain, chills, shortness of breath, fever, palpitations, or coughing (pus or phlegm).

When asking your doctor how to sleep with pneumonia, they may recommend you lie on one side with your head elevated and a pillow between the legs, and keep the back straight.

Pleurisy or Pleuritis

Pleurisy or pleuritis is a medical condition in which the patient’s pleura, the two large, relatively thin tissue layers separating the lungs from the chest wall, is inflamed. In many cases, pleurisy leads to sharp, painful sensations in the chest and night chest pains.
These symptoms typically worsen when the person is breathing.

Remember, similar to sleeping with pneumonia, a reliable healthcare specialist can answer “how to sleep with pleurisy.” With that in mind, a good tip on how to sleep with pleurisy is resting on one side. You will want to keep a pillow close and hold it against the chest when taking deep breaths or coughing.


People with excess body fat may frequently experience night chest pains. The extra body weight can place pressure on the diaphragm and the lungs. Additionally, obesity can be one of the symptoms of lung or cardiac conditions that result in chest pain when lying down.
If the cause of pain in your chest is due to obesity, a healthcare professional will most likely advise you to lose weight. While you are on your weight loss journey, you may rest on one side and elevate your head with pillows if you are feeling chest pains.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (or COPD for short) is a severe chronic lung disease. This condition leads to airflow blockage to the lungs resulting in normal breathing interference. Unfortunately, this inflammatory disease isn’t fully curable or reversible. However, a doctor can treat it with specific medications and breathing treatments.

Common symptoms of COPD include:

  • Chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
  • Low pulse
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness when sitting down or standing
  • Wheezing
  • Severe and constant coughing

A person with COPD is also at risk of developing heart disease and lung cancer. Two of the most frequent medical conditions that lead to COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Panic or Anxiety Disorder

Feeling nervous or fearful occasionally is normal for most people, especially depending on the circumstances. However, if you have regular sudden attacks of fear or panic, you may have an anxiety disorder.

A panic or anxiety disorder can come with plenty of symptoms, including dizziness, vomiting, shortness of breath, and chest pain. Patients typically describe chest pain associated with anxiety disorder as a sharp, shooting, persistent, stabbing, or even numbing sensation.

Patients often mistake the symptoms of chest pain associated with anxiety disorder to suffering from a heart attack. Typically, heart attack-related chest pain worsens with exertion and includes a rapid heartbeat.

Other Causes of Chest Pain

Besides the previously mentioned six common causes, chest pain can also be linked to the rib cage, chest wall injury, and acid reflux.

If you had an accident, a suffered from a strain or injury, you may experience pain in your chest wall. In this case, you might feel a sharp pain when lying down, particularly when changing your sleep position. Standard treatment methods for injury-related chest pain include pain medication and rest.

The most common symptoms of acid reflux include hiccups, burping, bloating, a crushing or squeezing chest sensation, severe and sharp chest pain, and heartburn. Moreover, people with gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD (also called acid reflux) can feel discomfort in their chest when lying down. Luckily, you can typically manage acid reflux by maintaining a healthy weight, eating your food slowly and chewing thoroughly, and avoiding certain drinks and foods (such as fried foods) that can trigger acid reflux.

Book a Consultation with a Corus Advantage Affiliated Expert Today

Chest pain can not only feel very uncomfortable, but it can also signify an underlying disease such as pneumonia. If you’re looking for custom treatment methods and professional guidance, schedule an appointment today and keep your health a top priority.

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