Associations between physical activity and sleep in adults with chronic pain: a momentary, within-persons perspective

Andrews, Nicole E., Strong, Jenny, Meredith, Pamela J. and D'Arrigo, Rachel G. (2014) Associations between physical activity and sleep in adults with chronic pain: a momentary, within-persons perspective. Physical Therapy, 94 4: 499-510. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130302

Author Andrews, Nicole E.
Strong, Jenny
Meredith, Pamela J.
D'Arrigo, Rachel G.
Title Associations between physical activity and sleep in adults with chronic pain: a momentary, within-persons perspective
Journal name Physical Therapy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0031-9023
Publication date 2014-04-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.2522/ptj.20130302
Volume 94
Issue 4
Start page 499
End page 510
Total pages 12
Place of publication Alexandria, VA, United States
Publisher American Physical Therapy Association
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background Individuals with chronic pain consider improved sleep as one of the most important outcomes of treatment. Physical activity has been shown to have beneficial effects on sleep in the general population. Despite this, the physical activity-sleep relationship has not been directly examined in a chronic pain sample.

Objective This study aimed to examine the association between objective daytime physical activity and subsequent objective sleep for individuals with chronic pain while controlling for pain and psychosocial variables.

Design An observational prospective within-persons study design was employed.

Methods A clinical sample of fifty adults with chronic pain was recruited. Participation involved completing a demographic questionnaire followed by five days of data collection. Over this period participants wore a tri-axial accelerometer to monitor their daytime activity and sleep. Participants also carried a Palm Hand Held Computer that administered a questionnaire measuring pain, mood, catastrophizing, and stress, six times throughout the day.

Results Results demonstrated that higher fluctuations in daytime activity significantly predicted shorter sleep duration. Furthermore, higher mean daytime activity levels and a greater number of pain sites contributed significantly to the prediction of longer periods of wakefulness at night.

Limitations The small sample size used in this study limits the generalizability of findings. Missing data may have led to over- or under-estimations of effect sizes, and additional factors that may be associated with sleep (such as medication usage and environmental factors) were not measured.

Conclusions Results of this study suggest engagement in high intensity activity and high fluctuations in activity are associated with poorer sleep at night; hence, activity modulation may be a key treatment strategy to address sleep complaints in individuals with chronic pain.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 8 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 19 Nov 2013, 23:32:58 EST by Professor Jenny Strong on behalf of Occupational Therapy