Pain is known to disrupt sleep patterns, and disturbances in sleep can further worsen pain symptoms. Sleep spindles occur during slow wave sleep and have established effects on sensory and affective processing in mammals. A number of chronic neuropsychiatric conditions, meanwhile, are known to alter sleep spindle density. The effect of persistent pain on sleep spindle waves, however, remains unknown, and studies of sleep spindles are challenging due to long period of monitoring and data analysis. Utilizing automated sleep spindle detection algorithms built on deep learning, we can monitor the effect of pain states on sleep spindle activity. In this study, we show that in a chronic pain model in rodents, there is a significant decrease in sleep spindle activity compared to controls. Meanwhile, methods to restore sleep spindles are associated with decreased pain symptoms. These results suggest that sleep spindle density correlates with chronic pain and may be both a potential biomarker for chronic pain and a target for neuromodulation therapy.
Keywords: Sleep spindles; chronic pain; diagnostic; pink noise; therapeutic.