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Relationship between Sleep Loss, Pain Examined in Two Abstracts to be Presented at 19th Annual Meeting of APSS


WESTCHESTER, Ill., June 20 -- The following abstracts showing a relationship between sleep loss and pain are among the body of research scheduled to be presented at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS) in Denver, Colo. from June 20 to 22: Sleep Loss Can Play a Role in Causing and Increasing Feelings of Bodily Pain and Discomfort

Sleep loss precipitates and exacerbates complaints of bodily pain and discomfort by reducing a patientís sense of optimism and increasing feelings of anger and depression. The study was conducted by Monika Haack and Janet M. Mullington from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Mass. It involved three groups of healthy subjects, nine of whom stayed awake for 88 continuous hours of total sleep deprivation (TSD), 22 of whom had their sleep restricted to four hours per night for 12 straight nights of partial sleep deprivation (PSD), and 18 of whom slept for eight hours per night.

Results show that in TSD subjects, bodily discomfort increases 9.5 percent by the third day of deprivation. In PSD participants, optimism drops 15.2 percent by the twelfth day of deprivation, while bodily discomfort, anger, and depression all increase by days two, three, and four, respectively.

REM Sleep Deprivation Produces Extreme Sensitivity to Pain

Rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep deprivation produces extreme sensitivity to pain, a condition known as hyperalgesia. The study was conducted by Maren E. Hyde and colleagues from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Mich. It involved six healthy adults, 18 to 35 years of age, whose pain threshold was assessed after four sessions involving different structured sleep patterns. Pain threshold was measured by recording the length of time in seconds before the subject removed a finger from a finger pad when various levels of radiant heat stimulation were applied. Results show that participants became significantly more sensitive to the pain caused by heat stimulation after being deprived of REM sleep. This is clinically significant, the authors suggest, because opioid analgesics are known to suppress REM sleep.


The APSS Annual Meeting will bring an international body of 5,000 leading researchers and clinicians in sleep medicine to Denverís Colorado Convention Center.


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