Extending nightly sleep in mildly sleepy, healthy adults increases daytime alertness and reduces pain sensitivity, a new study has suggested.
“Our results suggest the importance of adequate sleep in various chronic pain conditions or in preparation for elective surgical procedures. We were surprised by the magnitude of the reduction in pain sensitivity, when compared to the reduction produced by taking codeine,” said Timothy Roehrs, PhD, the study’s principal investigator and lead author.
The study involved 18 healthy, pain-free, sleepy volunteers. They were randomly assigned to four nights of either maintaining their habitual sleep time or extending their sleep time by spending 10 hours in bed per night. Objective daytime sleepiness was measured using the multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and pain sensitivity was assessed using a radiant heat stimulus.