Look familiar? Prevent pain by catching ZZZ’s. People who log a recommended 8 hours or more of sleep a night are less susceptible to pain than t...
Prevent pain by catching ZZZ’s. People who log a recommended 8 hours or more of sleep a night are less susceptible to pain than those who are sleep deprived, says new research published in Sleep.
Researchers studied 18 healthy adults ages 21 to 25 and had half spend 10 hours in bed for 4 nights while the other sleepers kept to their regular schedules. They then measured pain sensitivity based on how long participants could touch a heat source. The results: The group that averaged 2 more hours of sleep a night had a 25 percent higher pain tolerance.
“We think that both sleep loss and pain stimulate pro-inflammatory responses, and getting more sleep decreases inflammation and pain sensitivity,” says lead researcher Thomas Roth, Ph.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
So how can you fight pain with a good snooze? First, recognize the signs of sleep deprivation: If you find yourself oversleeping on weekends, dozing off in meetings, or finding it impossible to function without your morning cuppa Joe, you’re sleep deprived. Don’t have 10 free hours to curl up with your pillow and blanket? You’re not alone. “The average person sleeps about 6.9 hours, which means there are lots of people sleeping 6.5 hours or less,” says Roth.
The idea isn’t to get 10 hours of sleep—it’s to get adequate sleep, he says. Your move: Aim for incremental improvements. Head to bed half an hour earlier every night until you find yourself leveling out to 8 hours, or take a 30-minute power nap during the day. (Learn more ways you can sleep like a baby—no matter your age.)
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