Temporal Relationship Between Daily Pain and Actigraphy Sleep Patterns In Pediatric Sickle Cell Disease

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Limited research is available on the relationship between objective sleep patterns and pain in children with SCD. Research in other chronic pain populations suggests that the effect of sleep disruption on pain may be stronger than the effect of pain on sleep that night. To examine the bi-directional relationship between objective sleep patterns and daily pain in a pediatric SCD sample. Participants were 30 African American children with SCD 8–18 years (13 ± 2.8 years; 66.7% female) with frequent pain. Children and parents completed questionnaires to assess pain, medications, and depression/anxiety. Over a 14-day period, children completed a pain diary and ambulatory actigraphy monitoring to assess nighttime sleep (duration, efficiency and WASO). Greater pain severity was associated with worse sleep efficiency and greater WASO that night, controlling for age, sex, opioid medication, and depression/anxiety symptoms. Worse sleep efficiency was associated with the occurrence of pain and more severe pain the next day. There was no relationship between WASO and pain. Similarly, sleep duration did not influence pain. Results lend support for a bi-directional relationship between sleep parameters and daily pain in pediatric SCD, and identify sleep as a potential target for future research and intervention.

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