Sleep and the affective response to stress and pain

Journal: Health Psychology. 2007 May;26(3):288-95.

Authors and affiliation: Hamilton NA, Catley D, Karlson C. Department of Psychology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, USA. [E-mail: ]

PMID: 17500615

Objective: The current study examined sleep disturbance (i.e., sleep duration, sleep quality) as a correlate of stress reactivity and pain reactivity.

Design and Outcome Measures: An ecological momentary assessment design was used to evaluate the psychosocial functioning of men and women with Fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis (N = 49). Participants recorded numeric ratings of pain, the occurrence of a stressful event, as well as positive and negative affect 7 times throughout the day for 2 consecutive days. In addition, participants reported on their sleep duration and sleep quality each morning.

Results: Sleep disruption was not found to be an independent predictor of affect. However, sleep was found to buffer the relationship between stress and negative affect and the relationship between pain and both positive and negative affect.

Conclusion: These results are consistent with a model in which good-quality sleep acts as a biobehavioral resource that minimizes allostatic load [allostatic load is a composite index of indicators of cumulative strain – “wear and tear” – on organs and tissues in response to negative stimuli].

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