More Sleep, Less Painkillers
December 2, 2012

Extra Sleep Could Decrease A Person’s Sensitivity To Pain

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

People who find themselves relying on painkillers to ease their discomfort might be better off just trying to catch a few extra hours of sleep, according to a new study published in the December issue of the journal Sleep.

According to The Telegraph, research conducted by experts at the Henry Ford Hospital and Wayne State University discovered that getting 10 hours of sleep per night is more effective at reducing pain sensitivity than taking codeine.

"Researchers studied 18 volunteers over four nights and found that those who slept for 10 hours were able to keep their finger on a heat source for 25 seconds longer than those who had eight hours or fewer," the UK newspaper reported on Saturday. "The findings“¦ also revealed the effect was greater than was seen in a previous study where volunteers were given 60mg of the painkiller codeine."

“If you are already sleeping eight hours a night, you probably don´t need more sleep,” Dr. Thomas Roth, Director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Detroit-based medical center, told Denise Mann of WebMD Health News. However, he said, "if you spend six hours in bed a night, spend eight -- preferably nine."

The findings of the study, which was conducted on an outpatient basis with subjects between the ages of 21 and 35, suggest that people's sensitivity to pain could increase as the amount of slumber they receive decreases.

"Our results suggest the importance of adequate sleep in various chronic pain conditions or in preparation for elective surgical procedures," Dr. Timothy Roehrs, co-author of the study and also a member of the Henry Ford Hospital staff, told The Telegraph. "We were surprised by the magnitude of the reduction in pain sensitivity, when compared to the reduction produced by taking codeine."

"Researchers said the latest study was the first to suggest that extended sleep in sleep-deprived volunteers reduced their sensitivity to pain and that the sensitivity in sleepy individuals was the result of their underlying sleepiness," the newspaper added.