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Approved Research

The association between sleep status, chronic pain, and mental health

Principal Investigator: Dr Min Yu
Approved Research ID: 93749
Approval date: October 27th 2022

Lay summary

Aims: To explore the relationship between sleep characteristics (e.g. the presence of snoring/airflow cessation, sleep duration, nap during the day) and the presence of chronic pain (the types, severity and duration of craniofacial pain).

Scientific raoionale: There is a body of literature showing that there is a high comorbidity of craniofacial pain with sleep disorders. The presence of chronic pain often affects the quality of sleep. And the successful treatment of sleep disorders should take the presence of chronic pain into consideration. Regulating pain and sleep can have a broad negative impact on health and well-being. Observational studies have demonstrated the association between sleep quality, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and temporomandibular disease (TMD), and primary headaches. However, there are very few studies at the epidemiologic level that have attempted to show whether these findings translate into real-world effects.

Project duration: The project will take approximately 36 months to complete.

Public health impact: As a modifiable lifestyle behavior, sleep is vital to human health. And the presence of chronic pain could affect the sleep status at night. Therefore, we wish to investigate (1) the associations between sleep characteristics and chronic pain and mental health [e.g., is sleep disorders associated with chronic pain and mental health?] (2) a potential mediating role of daytime sleepiness [could nap during the day be an improving factor?], (3) a potential moderating role of these relationships on self-reported health outcomes [does the association affect health outcomes?], and (4) whether there is a causal relationship among these factors. This study will leverage the sleep characteristics, chronic pain, mental health and genomic data obtained via the UK Biobank to address an issue of public health relevance that has not been previously examined. This study will be a series of secondary analyses of existing data.