A good night’s sleep has been proven to increase daytime alertness, facilitate weight management, and improve mood, among other benefits. But did you know that getting more sleep can also improve your tolerance for pain or reduce your pain episodes?
In research conducted by the Sleep Disorders Center at the Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, sleep volunteers who were asked to sleep for two more hours per night for four successive nights showed improvements in pain sensitivity. The researchers measured their pain sensitivity in scientific tests.
Keep in mind that the National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep each night for adults. If you are already sleeping six hours per night, you should seriously consider spending one or two hours more in bed especially when you have chronic pain. Your pain sensitivity will likely decrease, which means that your pain’s duration, frequency and intensity can decrease.
In the study, 18 healthy adults ranging in age from 21 to 35 did not have chronic or acute pain episodes. Nine spent 10 hours in bed for 4 nights and the other nine kept their usual sleep schedules; the former averaged 8.9 hours per night while the latter averaged 7.14 hours.
The researchers measured pain sensitivity in terms of the length of time that the participants can keep one of their fingers held to a heat source. Participants who enjoyed extended sleep periods increased their ability to hold their fingers to a heat source by 25 percent even after just 4 days.
This is equivalent to taking a 60-milligram dose of codeine, a strong painkiller, twice a day!
The exact mechanism between increased number of hours spent sleeping and decreased pain sensitivity is not yet fully understood. But researchers believe that loss of sleep and pain can both increase the levels of inflammatory markers. This means that getting more sleep may likely decrease the inflammation and result in less pain.
Of course, when you are experiencing chronic pain, you should consult with the pain management specialists of any of our clinics, such as the one in Corona by Norco, Home Gardens, Mira Loma, and Pedley, for proper treatment. Sleeping more may have its benefits but you should remember that chronic pain has several underlying factors, which should be looked into by your doctor. Your chronic pain, for example, may be due to an underlying illness or a past injury that refuses to heal properly.
Come to any of our clinics, such as the Garden Grove clinic by Stanton, Santa Ana, and Westminster, for more information about effective pain management.
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