Insomnia tied to lower pain tolerance
People having disorders like insomnia, restlessness and other sleep problems have increased sensitivity to pain, a new research, involving over 10,000 adults, has found.
The research highlights the demand for efforts to improve sleep among patients with chronic pain and vice versa.
The results recommend that psychological factors may contribute to the relationship between sleep problems and pain, but they do not fully explain it.
“While there is a strong connection between pain and sleep, such that insomnia increases both the likelihood and severity of clinical pain, it is not clear exactly why this is the case,” said lead researcher Borge Sivertsen from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Bergen.
The study included over 10,400 adults from a large, ongoing Norwegian health research. Each participant went through a standard test of pain sensitivity — the cold pressor test — in which the participants were asked to keep their hand submerged in a cold water bath.
Overall, 32 percent of volunteers were able to keep their hand in the cold water throughout the 106-second test.
People with insomnia were more prone to take their hand out early: 42 percent did so, compared with 31 percent of those without insomnia.
Pain awareness increased with both the frequency and severity of insomnia.
Pain feeling was also linked to sleep latency, the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, although not to total sleep time.