Sleep disturbance is a common problem among chronic pain patients. Cross-sectional data from clinical populations and experimental studies have shown an association between sleep disturbance and pain. However, there has been little prospective research into the relationship between daily variability between sleep and pain among chronic pain patients.
Twenty-two women with chronic pain (back pain, facial pain, fibromyalgia) completed a sleep diary and wore an actigraph for a 2-week period. Self-report measures of pain, mood, and sleep were also completed at baseline. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to examine intraindividual variability in sleep and pain ratings among these women. The impact of mood and baseline pain ratings was also examined as potential moderators.
Hierarchical linear modeling analyses supported a bidirectional relationship between sleep and pain, such that a night of poor sleep was followed by increased pain ratings the following day and a day of increased pain was followed by a night of poor sleep. Depression scores further influenced these relationships.
Prospective examination supported a bidirectional relationship between sleep and pain among a group of women with chronic pain. Depressive symptoms had a moderating impact on these relationships. These findings suggest that addressing sleep is important in the treatment of individuals with chronic pain.