Longer Sleep Duration and Later Sleep Timing are Associated with Increased Cold-Pain Perception During the Day

Joshua Aviram, Tamar Shochat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Experimental studies on the associations between sleep and evoked pain in healthy individuals have generally demonstrated increased pain sensitivity following sleep deprivation, yet few have addressed the association between habitual sleep patterns and next-day pain sensitivity. This study aimed to assess relationships between habitual sleep quantity, quality, and timing based on objective measurement of sleep (actigraphy) and experimentally evoked cold-pain perception during the day in healthy young men.

Forty-eight healthy, young male participants without pain or sleep disturbance were examined via cold pressor test to obtain measures of cold-pain threshold, tolerance, and intensity in the morning, afternoon, and evening, in a randomized-order repeated-measures design. Sleep characteristics were assessed by actigraphy for 7 days prior to testing. Correlations (Spearman) were computed between all sleep and pain measures. Sleep measures that significantly correlated with pain were entered as covariates in repeated-measures (RM) ANOVA.

Longer sleep duration and later sleep timing were associated with increased sensitivity to evoked cold-pain tests at different times of the day (p < 0.05). After controlling for age, BMI, and weekday–weekend differences in sleep duration and bedtime, longer sleep duration, and later wake time were associated with lower pain threshold, and later bed- and wake times were associated with lower pain tolerance (p < 0.05). Sleep quality was not associated with any pain measures.

Objectively measured habitual sleep duration and timing are associated with cold-pain perception in healthy young men. Further investigation is needed to elucidate the mechanism underlying the detrimental effects of long sleep duration and late sleep timing on pain perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-78
Number of pages8
JournalSleep and Vigilance
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


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