To examine sleep disturbances in the POINT cohort study consisting of participants prescribed long-term opioids for chronic noncancer pain (CNCP), and to examine the relationship between sleep and measures of pain, physical and mental health, substance use, and medication use at the baseline interview.
A convenience sample of 1243 participants with current CNCP and prescription opioid use were recruited from community settings and underwent a structured interview examining subjective sleep symptoms (Medical Outcomes Study [MOS] Sleep Scale and the Sleep Problems Index [SLP-9]), the pain severity and interference using the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), mental and physical health symptoms, and recent substance and medication use. Linear regression models assessed independent predictors of SLP-9 scores.
The median hours of sleep per night was 6 (IQR, 5 to 7.5), with 26% reporting optimal sleep (7 to 8 hours), and a mean SLP-9 score of 47.3 (SD=20.9). In multivariate analysis, age, frequent/severe headaches, BPI pain severity and pain interference scores, moderate to severe anxiety or depression, daily tobacco use, and benzodiazepine use in the past week were significant predictors of SLP-9 scores and sleep quality. Higher MOS respiratory impairment was observed in men, in those with a high body mass index, frequent/severe headaches, and high pain interference scores, and in patients taking anticonvulsants and antipsychotic medications. Opioid use was not associated with SLP-9 or respiratory sleep impairment.
High levels of sleep problems were reported in this community sample of CNCP patients prescribed long-term opioids, and were associated with mental health problems and increased medication use. Nonmedication approaches to addressing sleep problems should be prioritized in this population.