Sleeping for longer 'reduces pain sensitivity'

Extending the nightly sleep that healthy adults get could cut their sensitivity to pain, as well as increasing daytime alertness, it has been found.

Research published in the journal Sleep involved 18 healthy, pain-free, mildly sleepy volunteers, who were randomly assigned four nights of either keeping their habitual sleep time or extending it by spending ten hours in bed each night.

Scientists measured daytime sleepiness using the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) as well as pain sensitivity, using a radiant heat stimulus.

The extended group slept for 1.8 hours per night more than the habitual group, it was found.

Increased sleeping hours were correlated with increased daytime alertness, which was linked to less pain sensitivity.

"Our results suggest the importance of adequate sleep in various chronic pain conditions or in preparation for elective surgical procedures,"said lead author Timothy Roehrs.

"We were surprised by the magnitude of the reduction in pain sensitivity, when compared to the reduction produced by taking codeine."

Posted by Edward Bartel

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