Rheumatic Manifestations of Other Diseases (Roland Staud, Section Editor)

Current Rheumatology Reports

, Volume 13, Issue 6, pp 535-542

First online:

Does Sleep Differ Among Patients with Common Musculoskeletal Pain Disorders?

  • Gilles J. LavigneAffiliated withFaculté de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal Email author 
  • , Angela NashedAffiliated withFaculté de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal
  • , Christiane ManziniAffiliated withFaculté de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal
  • , Maria Clotilde CarraAffiliated withFaculté de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Most patients with chronic musculoskeletal pain report poor-quality sleep. The impact of chronic pain on sleep can be described as a vicious circle with mutual deleterious influences between pain and sleep-associated symptoms. It is difficult, however, to extract quantitative or consistent and specific sleep variables (eg, total sleep time, slow-wave sleep, sleep stage duration) that characterize the pain-related disruption of sleep. Comorbidity (eg, fatigue; depression; anxiety, sleep, movement, or breathing disorders) often confounds the reading and interpretation of sleep traces. Furthermore, many other methodologic issues complicate our ability to generalize findings (low external validity) to first-line medicine. Because sleep alterations in common musculoskeletal pain are neither specific nor pathognomonic, the aim is to provide a critical overview of the current understanding of pain and sleep interaction, discussing evidence-based and empiric knowledge that should be considered in further research and clinical applications.


Fibromyalgia Chronic widespread pain Rheumatoid arthritis Juvenile arthritis Osteoarthritis Temporomandibular disorder Sleep Musculoskeletal pain disorders Napping Slow-wave activity Sleep intensity Delta activity Alpha activity Insomnia Sleep disorders Breathing Sleep apnea Periodic limb movement during sleep