The objective of the current study was to assess the impact of sleep quality on pain sensitivity and depressive symptoms in the elderly.
In this cross-sectional analytical design study a total of 78 patients (65-85 years) with good general health status and 44 young (30-50 years) healthy volunteers were included. All subjects assessed by Pittsburg sleep quality index (PSQI), pain pressure threshold (PPT) and geriatric depression scale (GDS).
In geriatric subjects, components of PSQI were significantly higher (p < 0.05) as compared to controls, indicating bad sleep components in geriatric subjects. The PPT was significantly reduced among the geriatric patients vs. controls (p < 0.05), indicating a lower pain tolerance among the geriatric patients. Also, the elderly subjects had significantly higher depression scores than in control subjects (p < 0.05), indicating higher depression levels in geriatric group. In the geriatric group, except for the use of sleeping medication, all PSQI components and the total PSQI score showed a significant correlation with depression scores (p < 0.05), patients with higher depression levels have bad sleep quality.
Our results showed decreased sleep quality, pain sensitivity and an increased depression among elderly subjects as compared to younger individuals. These findings indicate that decreased sleep quality is associated with both increased pain sensitivity and increased rates of depression.