There is a definite link between long term sleep deprivation and chronic pain.
Previous studies have found a link between insomnia and joint pain. It has even been suggested that sleep disruption can increase inflammatory markers, increasing the risk of developing arthritis.
A more recent study has found that if you get a good night's sleep, you'll experience less of the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
More than half of those with osteoarthritis experience pain during the night. This disrupts sleep and creates a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and pain.
Researchers in the United States have found that sleep disruption changes the way the body processes pain.
Interestingly, the study found that the association between sleep and pain varied according to gender and ethnicity:
- White sleep deprived individuals had lower pain thresholds compared to African Americans,
- White sleep deprived individuals had less pain inhibition compared to African Americans,
- Sleep deprivation was more likely to increase pain in women compared to men.
Although the study only identified an association between pain tolerance and sleep, the study's authors have suggested that treatments for improving sleep may ease pain in those with osteoarthritis.
As for the most effective insomnia treatment, cognitive behavioral therapy was recommended.
Source: The Journal of Pain
Last updated: March 22, 2016