While there are several disadvantages to chronic sleep loss, like weight gain, and depression, scientists now believe it may also weaken your tolerance for physical pain. One theory is that the lack of sleep may increase inflammation throughout the body, and catching up on sleep can help to reduce inflammation. The journal Sleep published a study done at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. The researchers assessed pain thresholds, and found that after four nights, the group that was permitted to sleep the longest was able to tolerate the painful stimuli (holding a finger to a source of radiant heat) much longer, by about 25 percent. Another study found that one night of reducing sleep in half could notably reduce a person’s threshold for physical pain. Said one researcher, “disturbed sleep is a key complaint of people experiencing acute and chronic pain. These two vital functions, sleep and pain, interact in complex ways, that ultimately impact the biological and behavioral capacity of the individual.”     NY Times   12/18/12

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