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Sleeping for 10 hours Can Reduce Sensitivity to Pain: Study

Update Date: Dec 03, 2012 06:20 AM EST
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Genes that promote myelin formation are turned on during sleep, according to a new study. (Photo : Flickr)

The next time you want to sleep a little extra, don't feel guilty about it, just tell yourself that extra sleep is only going to help reduce your sensitivity to pain. At least that's what a new research claims.

The new study, by researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, claims that sleep for 10 hours at night instead of the recommended eight hours can help people reduce pain sensitivity and is even more effective than strong painkillers like codeine.

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For the study, researchers observed 18 volunteers for four nights and found that those who slept for 10 hours could stand keeping their finger on a heat source for 25 seconds more than those who slept for eight hours or less.

The findings also revealed that the effect was greater than what was observed in a study conducted previously, where 60mg of the painkiller codeine was administered to participants.

The results of the current study, along with the findings of the previous research, suggest that people who have increased sensitivity to pain may be experiencing it due to an underlying sleepiness.

"Our results suggest the importance of adequate sleep in various chronic pain conditions or in preparation for elective surgical procedures. We were surprised by the magnitude of the reduction in pain sensitivity, when compared to the reduction produced by taking codeine." Dr. Timothy Roehrs, of Henry Ford Hospital in the United States, was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Poor sleep has also been linked to chronic pain in women previously.

Researchers concluded that even people who occasionally find it difficult to sleep may be at double the risk of pain. Apparently, two-thirds of those who report chronic back pain also suffer from sleep disorders.

The latest findings suggest that when sleep-deprived volunteers extended their sleep time, their sensitivity to pain consequently reduced.  

The findings were published in the journal Sleep.

 

 

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