A good pain killer is a good night's sleep

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While 25 percent suffer from lack of sleep nearly 21 percent get to sleep for less than six years. This is staggering 46 percent and no doubt there is so much pain and big bucks are made to cure pain, both physical and psychological.

But all pervasive pain has simple remedy and according to a new study, a good night's sleep will not just help you feel rested and refreshed, it also reduces sensitivity to pain.

"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, PhD, of the Sleep Disorders and Research Center at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, USA.


In the 1960s, average sleep was about 8 hours a day; whereas by 2005 it was 7 hours or less. A recent survey found that 21% of the population slept 6 hours or less a day. Overall, up to 25 percent of the population suffers from sleep deprivation.

Why such decline in a well earned sleep? A number of factors are contributing to this trend like 24 hour access to entertainment, social and family responsibilities, time spent commuting and around-the-clock services that require 24x7 attention and delivery.

The study by researchers at Henry Ford and Wayne State University measured the objective daytime sleepiness by using the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) and pain sensitivity was assessed using a radiant heat stimulus.

Results showed that the extended sleep group slept 1.8 hours more per night than the habitual sleep group. This nightly increase in sleep time during the four experimental nights was correlated with increased daytime alertness and less pain sensitivity.

In the well-slept rested group, the length of time before participants removed their finger from a radiant heat source increased by 25 per cent, reflecting a reduction in pain sensitivity.

The authors report that the magnitude of this increase in finger withdrawal latency is greater than the effect found in a previous study of 60 mg dose of codeine to dull their pain. "We were surprised by the magnitude of the reduction in pain sensitivity, when compared to the reduction produced by taking codeine," said Roehers.

"The results of the current study indicate that a relatively short bedtime extension, four nights, is sufficient to provide benefit for alertness and pain sensitivity for individuals with this level of excessive sleepiness," he said.

Next time you feel like popping in a pain killer, pause and reflect. Did you get adequate sleep? Sleep over the pain killer drug as they are know to induce adverse health issues.

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