Interacting Influences of Sleep, Pain, and Analgesic Medications on Sleep Studies in Rodents

Comp Med. 2019 Dec 1;69(6):571-578. doi: 10.30802/AALAS-CM-19-000029. Epub 2019 Jun 18.


This overview provides a brief summary of the complex interactions that link sleep, pain, and analgesic medications. Sleep scientists and clinicians are well aware of these relationships and understand that maintaining healthy pain-free subjects in a stable environment is essential to generating interpretable data and valid conclusions. However, these concepts and the data that support bidirectional interactions between sleep and pain may be less known to those who are not sleep scientists yet need such information to protect and advance both animal wellbeing and research validity (for example, veterinarians, IACUC members). Abundant human evidence supports the disruptive effect of pain and the modulatory effects of analgesic drugs on sleep; however, analgesic drugs can alter both sleep and the electroencephalogram, which is the primary objective measure for identifying sleep and evaluating sleep properties in both humans and animals. Consideration of the modulatory and interactive relationships of sleep, pain, and analgesic medications is essential to designing and conducting valid and reproducible sleep research using animal subjects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Laboratory
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Mice*
  • Pain / complications*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Rats*
  • Research Design / standards
  • Sleep / drug effects*


  • Analgesics