Does bedtime matter among patients with chronic pain? A longitudinal comparison study

Pain Rep. 2019 May 9;4(3):e747. doi: 10.1097/PR9.0000000000000747. eCollection 2019 May-Jun.


Introduction: Chronic pain patients frequently report having sleep disturbances and many tend to stay up during the night and then sleep into the day.

Objectives: This study was designed to compare a heterogeneous group of persons with chronic pain who reported typically going to bed between the hours of 9 pm and midnight with those who go to bed at other hours of the day and night.

Methods: Two hundred seventy-nine participants were divided between those who reported going to bed between the hours of 9 pm and midnight (N = 205) and those who reported having atypical bedtimes (N = 74) based on pre-post questionnaire data and average pain assessments from a smartphone pain application (app).

Results: Those individuals in the atypical bedtime group reported waking up more frequently and getting fewer hours sleep (P < 0.05). These individuals also reported significantly higher pain scores, activity interference, and taking more prescription opioid medication compared with those who had typical bedtimes (P < 0.05). Based on average 3-month daily assessments, those subjects with an atypical bedtime consistently reported more sleep disturbances, pain, activity interference, negative mood, and general worsening conditions over time, and elevated pain catastrophizing, pain-related disability, emotional distress scores, and more prescription medication for pain at 3-month follow-up (P < 0.01).

Conclusion: These results support the importance of providers asking patients with pain about what time they typically go to bed at night to gain a greater understanding of their lifestyle habits. Future studies are needed to further determine the importance of maintaining a typical bedtime among patients with chronic pain.

Keywords: Bedtime; Chronic pain; Pain app; Pain assessment; Pain management; Sleep.