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How A Lack Of Sleep Impacts Your Pain Tolerance


A good night’s sleep can positively impact your well-being in a number of ways. Not only is a good night’s sleep a great way to naturally boost your energy, but it also has a deep impact on your mood, heart health, energy, and focus. The ill-effects of a lack of sleep are equally extensive. But new studies point towards one more negative effect: heightened experiences of pain.

As strange as it might sound, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, studied 25 healthy adults to find how they were impacted by a night of great sleep, and a night of no sleep. The results? 80% of participants experienced an increase in pain sensitivity after sleep deprivation.

Everything from mattress sizes to foam mattress toppers can affect the level of comfort you get from your bed and ultimately, from your sleep. Here’s everything you need to know about how sleep deprivation might actually alter the way you experience pain:

The Correlation Between Sleep and Pain

One of the main points lead researcher Adam Krause points out about the study is the ‘bidirectional correlation’ between sleep and pain. This means a lack of sleep can cause magnified sensations of pain, while these heightened experiences of discomfort can lead to a lack of sleep.

Ensuring you’re sleeping pain-free can, therefore, help solve any trouble sleeping you might have – which will, in turn, ensure you’re able to endure potential pain a lot easier than otherwise. According to Dr. Krause, there’s hope to be found in these results: ‘It suggests that nearly everybody suffering from pain can be aided by increasing sleep’.

In another study published in Sleep, researchers in Detroit found studied eighteen adults who were split up into two groups – one was allowed to sleep for an average of nine hours, while the other averaged fewer than two hours of sleep every night.

The groups were then both asked to put a finger close to a source of radiant heat until they felt the need to withdraw. The group with more sleep were able to withstand pain up to twenty-five percent more than the group without sleep. These studies reveal that there’s a powerful link between the amount of sleep you get every night.

That being said, there is a thin line between sleeping the right amount and getting more than necessary. In general, researchers tend to recommend anywhere between six to ten hours of sleep a night.

There may be internal and external factors preventing you from getting the right amount of sleep. As an example, 68% of the world’s population doesn’t get enough magnesium each day. You can find out whether you need magnesium supplements to help alleviate sleep difficulties if you are among these percentages by taking an online magnesium deficiency test.

How To Minimize Pain During Sleep

Ensuring you have the right sleep set-up for minimal pain is an important step in keeping pain at an absolute minimum. The most comfortable mattress for your sleep is going to vary depending on a lot of factors.

Memory foam mattresses tend to be ranked highly in lists for the most comfortable mattresses in the market, not least because they have molding capabilities that make them the perfect mattress for pressure point relief. If you require something that provides a little more support than plain foam, then a hybrid mattress can also be a really great choice for minimizing pain during sleep.

Ultimately, you’re going to be able to judge the most comfortable mattress for yourself on your own, so be sure to check you’re able to try your new bed out before committing to it. Most of the best mattress companies come with guarantees that help ensure you feel secure about investing in your bed.

Another way to test if you truly have the most comfortable mattress you can for a good night’s sleep is to check if you’re waking up feeling fully rested. The best mattresses usually come with quite a few additional features, including being hypoallergenic, staying locally produced, and having temperature regulation features that keep you from overheating through the night.

If you’re convinced you already have the most comfortable mattress for your sleep then an adjustable bed frame might be the right pick for you. Not only can even the most comfortable mattress be improved with an adjustable bed frame, the customizable features present in one ensure you’re getting the best possible sleep possible. 

Sleep Hygiene Habits To Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep

If you’ve already optimized your sleep set-up with the most comfortable mattress and bed frame you can, then it’s time to move on to your own personal sleep hygiene. A proper sleep hygiene routine can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with a lack of sleep.

Make sure to stick to the same sleep routine every night, regardless of whether this is during the week or weekend. If you struggle with sleep anxiety before going to bed, try and engage in a calming ritual right before going to bed. This could be anything from taking a warm shower to lighting a few scented candles closer to bedtime.

Find what works for you, and integrate it into your daily routine to ensure it sticks. From finding the top rated mattress for your sleep to coming up with a sleep routine that helps you start snoozing in no time, it’s so important to do everything you can to make sure you’re getting eight hours every night.

Getting a good night’s sleep improves every facet of your life, from your mental wellbeing, energy levels, heart health, and yes, even your pain tolerance. Used correctly, sleep can truly become a secret superpower, just as good as any health supplement.  With a little bit of planning and some extra discipline, you’ll forget all about your lack of sleep, and be snoozing better in no time.

David Smith