Napping helps keep chronic pain takes away. For those who have taken short naps during the day, they know just how refreshing it can be. Kept to a short time, you wake up feeling good the rest of the day. Those suffering chronic pain, have more reasons to take a nap when they’re feeling tired. The good news is that, research backs up the idea that it helps easing the pain.
In the June 2017 issue of the journal Nature Medicine, researchers report that those who don’t get enough sleep are more likely suffering chronic pain (1). Using mice in their study, to test sleep quality and duration. They found that it predicted the presence of pain the next day in their healthy subjects. They reported that sleep disturbances may worsen pain. And, that sleep loss increases sensitivity to pain.
When that sleep loss is repeated daily, it can lead to progressive increase of sleep debt and pain responses. So, napping helps keep chronic pain takes away.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting a recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night (2). However, according to a Gallup poll, around 40% of adults get less than the recommended amount of sleep time (3). Many people suffer from sleep disturbances, insomnia, or they simply can’t pull themselves away from the televisions, computers. Even cellphones are having an impact on their quality of sleep each night. So, napping helps keep chronic pain takes away.
Those with chronic pain who don’t get a good night’s sleep, may be more sensitive to the pain the next day.
Taking a nap will help in giving some of the sleep they needed and missed out on. But, there is another option they can try as well. The study also reported that those who didn’t get enough sleep and had pain may benefit from caffeine. It is a wake-promoting agent. Mice given caffeine had immediately normalized pain sensitivity, without affecting sleep debt.
So just how long should you nap to gain the benefits? According to the National Sleep Foundation, all you need is 20 minutes. When you take a 20-minute nap you will get the benefits of napping. In which, include improved alertness, enhanced performance, and a better mood (4). Staying in that time frame also helps keeping you in the non-REM sleep stage. Making it easier to get up and get moving again. As well as, keeping you from waking up groggy. Drink some coffee or take a nap and see what it does for your chronic pain when you don’t have enough sleep.
- Nature Medicine. Decreased alertness due to sleep loss increases pain sensitivity in mice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28481358
- National Sleep Foundation. National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. https://sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundation-recommends-new-sleep-times
- In U.S. 40% get less than recommended amount of sleep. http://www.gallup.com/poll/166553/less-recommended-amount-sleep.aspx
- National Sleep Foundation. How long is an ideal nap? https://sleep.org/articles/how-long-to-nap/