A Medscape report indicates that healthy people exposed to disruptions in sleep show significant decreases in pain tolerance and higher impulsivity.
All participants completed a cold pressor task the following day, consisting of immersing their hand in a cold water bath (4°C) and removing it when the pain became intolerable, or up to a 5-minute time limit.
Participants also completed the 13-item Pain Catastrophizing Scale, self-reporting on a 5-point scale measures of helplessness, magnification, and rumination.
In the crossover study design, the participants then returned a minimum of 2 weeks later for the opposite sleep condition and underwent repeat testing, with testing hands counterbalanced for the second session.
Participants showed significant reductions in the amount of time they were able to tolerate the cold water bath after a night of forced awakenings (29.27 ± 2.66) compared with a night of uninterrupted sleep (45.85 ± 10.14; P < .05).