People who suffer from insomnia and other sleep difficulties have greater sensitivity to pain, according to a new study published in the journal PAIN. The effects are strongest in those who suffer from both insomnia and chronic pain.
The study involved more than 10,400 adults from a large ongoing Norwegian health study. Each participant underwent a standard test of pain sensitivity, known as the cold pressor test, in which they were asked to keep their hand submerged in a cold water bath.
Participants also reported on various types of sleep impairments, including insomnia, total sleep time, and sleep latency (time to falling asleep). Researchers assessed the relationships between measures of sleep impairment and pain sensitivity. They also investigated other factors that could potentially affect sleep impairment and pain perception, including chronic (persistent or recurring) pain and psychological distress (such as depression and anxiety).
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