Orofacial Pain and Sleep

  • Barry J. SessleEmail author
  • Kazunori Adachi
  • Dongyuan Yao
  • Yoshitaka Suzuki
  • Gilles J. Lavigne
Reference work entry


This chapter provides an overview of orofacial pain and its underlying mechanisms, as well as sleep and the mechanisms that underlie sleep. It particularly focuses on the clinical features and the processes involved in the interactions between pain and sleep. This chapter outlines the many insights that have been gained from clinical investigations, as well as experimental studies in humans and laboratory animals, of the pathways and processes involved in orofacial pain and its modulation, as well as the circuits and mechanisms underlying sleep. Some common elements in the pain and sleep processes are highlighted. In addition, this chapter notes that acute pain is part of a protective hypervigilance system that provides an alarm essential in response to injury or potential injury. This chapter also reviews findings indicating that pain, especially when chronic, is commonly associated with disturbed sleep, and that there may exist a circular relationship between them that is reflected in mutual deleterious influences producing further enhancement of both pain and disruption of sleep. The evidence reviewed suggests that therapeutic approaches need to be targeted at both reducing the pain and improving sleep for the effective management of the orofacial pain patient. Such dual targeting will enhance the patient’s quality of life, minimize mood alterations or exacerbations of a sleep disorder negatively impacting the patient’s pain, and ultimately optimize healing and the patient’s health.


Orofacial pain Temporomandibular disorders Sleep Insomnia Sleep-disordered breathing Sleep apnea Sleep bruxism 



The authors’ own research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Quebec Health Research Fund (FRQS), and the Canada Research Chair programs to BJS and GL.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry J. Sessle
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kazunori Adachi
    • 2
  • Dongyuan Yao
    • 3
  • Yoshitaka Suzuki
    • 4
    • 5
  • Gilles J. Lavigne
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Faculty of Dentistry and Department of Physiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Division of PharmacologyMeikai University School of DentistrySaitamaJapan
  3. 3.Jiangxi Mental Hospital and School of Pharmaceutical ScienceNanchang UniversityNanchangChina
  4. 4.Facultés de médecine dentaire et de médecineUniversité de MontréalMontrealCanada
  5. 5.Department of Stomatognathic Function and Occlusal ReconstructionTokushima University Graduate SchoolTokushimaJapan
  6. 6.Faculty of Dental MedicineUniveristé de MontréalMontrealCanada
  7. 7.Centre for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine and Trauma Unit, Surgery DepartmentHôpital du Sacré-Cœur de MontréMontrealCanada

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