Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Really? Losing Sleep Reduces Your Pain Tolerance

THE FACTS

Chronic sleep loss has many downsides, among them weight gain, depression and irritability. But now scientists have found a new one: It also weakens your tolerance for pain.

In recent studies, researchers have shown that losing sleep may disrupt the body’s pain signaling system, heightening sensitivity to painful stimuli. Though it is not clear why, one theory is that sleep loss increases inflammation throughout the body. Catching up on sleep if you are behind may reduce inflammation.

Scientists believe this could have implications for people with chronic pain. It could also have an impact on the effects of painkillers, which appear to be blunted after chronic sleep loss.

In one study published in the journal Sleep, scientists at the sleep disorders and research center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit recruited 18 healthy adults and split them into two groups. One was allowed to sleep for an average of nine hours, while the other averaged two fewer hours of sleep each night.

For the rest of the story: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/17/really-losing-sleep-reduces-your-pain-tolerance/

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