Investigation of Sleep and Pain sensitivity and its relationship to cellular aging in women with fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia (FMS) is a common chronic pain syndrome that is disabling to patients and costly to the society. FMS is devastating to the individual’s quality of life and family members. Despite intense research, what causes fibromyalgia is poorly understood and no single therapy is found to be beneficial to all patients. Well established research suggests that poor sleep quality reported by patients is associated with increased pain in FMS, but the nature of the relationship is still unclear.

The primary goal of this project is to collect data evaluating the relationship between sleep quantity/quality (measured both subjectively and objectively) and pain (both clinical and experimentally induced) in women with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) relative to healthy women. We would like to see if poor sleep, defined either objectively or subjectively will be related to greater pain sensitivity and pain report in both FMS and healthy women, although in general, FMS participants should exhibit greater pain sensitivity than healthy controls. We will also explore how cellular aging is linked to the pain and sleep.

Participants will attend two separate study visits each lasting about two hours. During the initial visit, participants will undergo a tender point analysis, fill out several questionnaires assessing symptoms related to quality of life and FMS, a single blood draw, and be given a wrist watch-like device to be worn for seven days to measure sleep quality. During the second visit, participants will return the wrist watch-like device, fill out two self-report measures of pain, and undergo two pain sensitivity tests.

Participants will be compensated for their participation at the end of the testing visit.


Principal Investigator: Akiko Okifuji, PhD
Department: Pain Research Center
Co-Investigator: Brad Hare, MD

For more information about whether you qualify to participate in this trial, please contact the study coordinator(s) listed at the below.

Contact Information

Name: Eli Iacob, PhD
Phone: 801-581-4232


Inclusion Criteria

Participants must meet one of the inclusion criterion groups:

Group 1

  • Women diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
  • Women between the ages of 21-65
  • Women that do not regularly exercise more than 120 minutes a week

Group 2

  • Women between the ages of 40-65
  • Women that do not regularly exercise more than 120 minutes a week
  • Women who have never been diagnosed with chronic pain

Exclusion Criteria

  • A diagnosis of an autoimmune disorder such as rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus.
  • Recent surgeries
  • Pregnancy
  • Neuropathic pain, pain associated with terminal illness, other chronic pain, or current acute pain issues (e.g. kidney stone)
  • Currently receiving any treatment/therapy/medication for sleep
  • History of head injury, stroke, or neurological disorder such as Parkinson’s
  • Diagnosed with schizophrenia, thought disorder, organic mental disorder, dementia, disassociate identity disorder, autism, or been hospitalized for mental health or psychiatric reasons or suicide idealization in the past year.
  • Current or recent history (two years) of non-IV substance abuse, any history of recreational IV drug use.
  • Diagnosed with cardiovascular or pulmonary disease that interferes with daily activity.
  • No person who takes prescription medications for sleep and/or pain.
  • No person who takes daily non-prescription pain medications such as NSAIDs like ibuprofen or aspirin will be recruited.

Lectures & Upcoming Events

Pain Research Center/Pain Management Center Didactic Lecture Series

Fridays 7:30–8:30am

For more information contact the Pain Research Center at 801-581-6393.