CAN POOR SLEEP CAUSE PAIN??
The answer is yes. A recent study of over 60,000 people found a strong connection between poor sleep and increased pain – two major health problems faced by our society. Interestingly, the study also showed that the relationship runs in an unexpected direction: “the impact of sleep on pain is often greater than the impact of pain on sleep,” according to the lead author.
How was the Study Done?
The authors of the study reviewed 16 studies conducted in10 countries. Half the people studied were tracked for at least four and a half years.
Are There Other Problems Besides Pain from Poor Sleep?
In addition to a strong association between poor sleep and pain – a general decline in both the quality and quantity of hours slept led to a two- to three-fold increase in pain problems over time – the study found weakened immune function, more inflammation, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and generally greater fatigue and poorer health.
Can I Catch Up on My Sleep on the Weekend?
A recent Harvard Medical School study says the answer to this question is no. Their study, reported in the journal Pain, found that restricting sleep on weekdays in the hope of catching up on weekends led to more pain.
What Can I do to Sleep Better?
A sophisticated tool to gauge one’s sleep patterns is a sleep study, which can reveal how much one actually sleeps at night and how frequently one wakes up. During this study, a person spends the night in a specially equipped room and is monitored by a number of devices.
Short of that, here are a few recommendations…
Stick to a schedule each day. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends.
It’s all about routine. Soothing music, reading — whatever is relaxing to you – is a habit you should follow nightly.
Avoid long naps in the hope you’ll “catch up”
Turn off your cell phone and put it in a different room.
Yours for Better Health,
Jon Mills, DC