Did you know that aside from interfering with your productivity and mood, sleep deprivation has a great impact on our sensitivity to pain? Many often complain of experiencing migraines when sleep deprived, and this comes as no shock considering a study of migraines has shown that sleep is one of the best things you can do to counter headaches. In fact, research suggests that sleep deprivation can affect the circuitry in the brain, greatly increasing the levels of discomfort we feel.
Recent studies have shown that just a single night of sleep deprivation can actually decrease your pain threshold by up to 15% and leave a long-term impact on your brain’s pain management abilities. Even small variations in sleep over a period of days can affect how your brain manages and processes pain, affecting your long-term threshold overall.
The most frustrating part of this equation comes in the catch 22 scenario where there is often inability to sleep when one is experiencing pain (think of how difficult it is to get to bed when you have a sore back or neck). Lack of sleep due to pain then affects your brain’s pain threshold, worsening your pain and getting you caught in a loop of both sleep deprivation and pain.
Because sleep deprivation is not something that most do intentionally (if anything, we’re hitting the snooze button for as long as we possibly can), it is believed that our bodies have not evolved to help restore or fix our brain’s pain management system. Unfortunately, the only way to counteract this sensitivity to pain is to ensure you are getting sufficient and constant rest every day. There are a few things you can do to counter sleep deprivation, one of which is to purchase a quality mattress that fits your needs and your body perfectly. Most people sleep on mattresses that do them more harm than good, and we always advise that people invest in a good mattress. Afterall, you spend 30% of your life sleeping on it, so it only makes sense that you’d want your mattress to provide your body with all the support that it requires.
Some other ways to assure you get a good night’s rest is to pay attention to your environment. Is your room too bright at night? Are you being distracted by the television or your mobile phone before bed time? Experts in sleep studies have stated that the blue light emitted from most technological devices keeps the brain active before bed time, making it much more difficult for you to fall asleep comfortably. Ideally, you should put a ban on phones at least 2 hours prior to heading to bed and try to keep electronic devices out of the bedroom. Not only do they emit light, but they also keep your mind buzzing at a time it should be settling down.
There is no doubt that a lack of sleep heightens our sensitivity to pain, and before heading to the pharmacy for short term solutions such as pain killers, we urge you to look into your sleep patterns and try to fix them. Get enough rest and knock sleep deprivation on the head, once and for all.