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Longer sleep reduces sensitivity to pain study

Margaret Jack  By Margaret Jack   |   Posted in Sleep Research   |   Monday 3rd December 2012

A new American study has found that more sleep for people who are mildly sleep deprived helps promote daytime alertness and reduces pain sensitivity.

The research that was conducted at the Henry Ford Hospital, Sleep Disorders and Research Centre in Detroit involved a group of healthy, pain-free volunteers. They were all randomly assigned to four nights of either maintaining their usual sleep duration or extending their sleep by spending 10 hours in bed per night. Daytime sleepiness was measured using the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT) – a sleep disorder diagnostic tool – and pain sensitivity was calculated using a radiant stimulus.

Looking at the results they found that the group with the extended amount of sleep slept 1.8 hours more per night than the habitual group. The increase of sleep during the four days correlated with increased daytime alertness which was tied to less sensitivity. The results showed that in the extended group the length of time before participants removed their fingers from a radiant heat source increased by 25%, which reflects a reduction of pain sensitivity.


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