Temporal daily associations between pain and sleep in adolescents with chronic pain versus healthy adolescents

Pain. 2010 Oct;151(1):220-225. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2010.07.016. Epub 2010 Aug 16.


Adolescents with chronic pain frequently report sleep disturbances, particularly short sleep duration, night wakings, and poor sleep quality. Prior research has been limited by assessment of subjectively reported sleep only and lack of data on daily relationships between sleep and pain. The current study utilized multilevel modeling to compare daily associations between sleep and pain in adolescents with chronic pain and healthy adolescents. Ninety-seven adolescents (n=39 chronic pain; n=58 healthy) aged 12-18, 70.1% female participated. Adolescents completed pain diary ratings (0-10 NRS) and actigraphic sleep monitoring for 10 days. Actigraphic sleep variables (duration, efficiency, WASO) and self-reported sleep quality were tested as predictors of next-day pain, and daytime pain was tested as a predictor of sleep that night. Effects of age, gender, study group, and depressive symptoms on daily associations between sleep and pain were also tested. Multivariate analyses revealed that nighttime sleep (p<.001) and minutes awake after sleep onset (WASO) (p<.05) predicted next-day pain, with longer sleep duration and higher WASO associated with higher pain. Contrary to hypotheses, neither nighttime sleep quality nor sleep efficiency predicted pain the following day. The interaction between nighttime sleep efficiency and study group was significant, with adolescents with pain showing stronger associations between sleep efficiency and next-day pain than healthy participants (p=.05). Contrary to hypotheses, daytime pain did not predict nighttime sleep. Daily associations between pain and sleep suggest that further work is needed to identify specific adolescent sleep behaviors (e.g., compensatory sleep behaviors) that may be targeted in interventions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living* / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pain / complications*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / etiology*