Skip to main content

Free Content Perception of experimental pain is reduced after provoked waking from rapid eye movement sleep

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library


Patients with chronic pain often complain of pain when they wake at night, but the accuracy of their perception of the pain after waking at night is unknown. While cognitive functions are reduced for a short time after waking from sleep, a situation known as sleep inertia, it is unclear how sleep inertia may affect the perception of pain. We investigated the effects of sleep inertia on the perception of experimentally induced pain. Fourteen male volunteers were exposed to a randomized thermal heat stimulus of 43.1 °C ‘hot’ and 46.5 °C ‘hurting’ during provoked waking from Stage 2 sleep, slow wave sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Subjects rated their pain on awakening on a Visual Analogue Scale at 30 s after awakening and each minute thereafter for 5 min. We found no change in pain perception over the 5-min period irrespective of temperature used or sleep stage. However, perceived pain when awoken abruptly from REM sleep was significantly lower than the awake score for both the hot (P = 0.0069) and hurting (P = 0.0025) temperatures. Pain perception when woken from Stage 2 sleep or slow wave sleep was not significantly different from perception when awake. Our findings indicate that sleep inertia reduces pain perception when awoken abruptly from REM. This suggests that patients who wake up in pain either perceive accurately the pain they are experiencing, or at worst underestimate the level of pain if woken from REM sleep.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Keywords: rapid eye movement sleep; sleep inertia; thermal pain

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-06-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more