Friday, January 18, 2013

The Link Between Sleep and Pain

Could More Shut-Eye Mean Less Pain?

Most of us would love to get a few extra Zzz’s every night. Sleeping is just all around good: it revitalizes us, helps our brains stay focused and sharp, keeps our immune systems strong and makes us less moody. One study, published in the December 2012 issue of the journal Sleep, found that getting more quality shut-eye could mean feeling less chronic back pain while you’re awake.

Researchers observed 18 healthy adults between 21 and 35 years old. First, pain was measured by how long participants could keep their finger held close to a heat source. For four nights, half of the group spent 10 hours in bed, averaging 8.9 hours of sleep per night. The other half stuck to their usual bedtime routines, averaging 7.14 hours of sleep per night.

Following the four days of sleep, the pain test was administered again. For those who’d slept longer, the length of time they kept their fingers close to the heat source increased by 25 percent when compared to the first pain test results. This shows that with extended sleep, the participants’ amount of pain sensitivity was reduced.

“For people who don’t get enough sleep, sleeping longer decreases pain sensitivity,” said researcher Thomas Roth, PhD, in a WebMD article about the study. “This likely holds for all types of pain, including chronic back pain and other painful disorders.”

Health Benefits of Quality Sleep

There’s no doubt about it—sleep has countless health benefits, so why not get more of it? The National Sleep Foundation recommends all adults strive for at least seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If you don’t sleep this long, consider trying to get to bed earlier. Your body and mind can benefit in more ways than one, according to the Huffington Post:
  • Improved memory
  • Longer lifespan
  • Less inflammation
  • More creativity
  • Improved attention span
  • Healthier weight
  • Lower stress
  • And more
Make an extra effort to get more sleep this year. It could lead to a healthier body and mind and, most of all, less back pain.

Further Reading

Want to learn more about ways to decrease your chronic back or neck pain or prevent it altogether? Like us on Facebook to check out our other articles, like:
If you’re sick and tired of dealing with pain and getting more sleep doesn’t help, feel free to talk to us at Capstone. We’re here to help. No one should have to suffer from non-stop back pain. Contact us today.

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