Did you know pain tolerance is reduced by sleep deprivation?

Did you know pain tolerance is reduced by sleep deprivation?

Posted On - October 6, 2017

According to Anahad O’Connor from The New York Times, researchers have shown that losing sleep may disrupt the body’s pain signalling system which heightens your sensitivity towards painful stimulants. There is no clear reason why, but there is a theory that sleep loss increases inflammation through the body. So, what is sleep deprivation?

Sleep deprivation is the condition of not having enough sleep; it can either be chronic or acute. Symptoms of sleep deprivations include:

  • Constant yawning
  • The tendency to doze off when not active for a while (e.g. watching tv)
  • Grogginess when waking in the morning
  • Sleepy grogginess experienced all day long
  • Poor concentration and mood changes

What are the causes of sleep deprivation? Some common causes are:

  • Personal choice
  • Illness
  • Work
  • An uncomfortable or non-ventilated mattress
  • Sleep disorder
  • Medications
  • Sleeping environment
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Babies/children

What can sleep deprivation do to you if you don’t get enough sleep?

  • Reduced alertness
  • Shortened attention span
  • Slower than normal reaction time
  • Poorer judgement
  • Reduced awareness of the environment and situation
  • Reduced decision-making skills
  • Poorer memory
  • Reduced concentration
  • Increased likelihood of mentally ‘stalling’ or fixating on one thought
  • Increased likelihood of moodiness and bad temper
  • Reduced work efficiency
  • Loss of motivation
  • Errors of omission – making a mistake by forgetting to do something
  • Errors of commission – making a mistake by doing something, but choosing the wrong option
  • Microsleep – brief periods of involuntary sleeping that range from a few seconds to a few minutes in duration.

Click on the link below to go to one of our earlier blogs to view some suggestions to overcome sleep deprivation and build a healthy sleeping habit.

Things to remember!

Not enough sleep or disruptions to the sleep cycle such as shift work or travelling to different time zone can cause the physiological state known as fatigue. Staying awake for 24 hours leads to a reduced hand to eye coordination that is similar to having a blood alcohol level of 0.1. Sleep deprivation affects children differently, they are more revved up rather than slowing down.