A team of researchers led by Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology and author of the book Why We Sleep, found that brain activity grows in pain-sensing regions while activity in areas that modulate how we perceive pain decreases, after one night of poor sleep.
The study, published in Journal of Neuroscience, shows that human brain processes pain depending on whether the person is sleep deprived. The subjects, healthy young adults, were kept awake in the laboratory throughout one night. The following day, the researchers observed during a pain sensitivity task reduced activity in regions of the striatum and insula cortex and reduced activity in regions of the striatum and insula cortex.
Additionally, participants of an online survey, recruited via the crowdsourcing marketplace Amazon Mechanical Turk, reported increased pain during the day after reporting poor sleep the night before.
The researchers conclude that their results suggest that improving sleep quality could be effective to manage pain, particularly in hospitals. The link between quality of sleep and pain is important because the first one is decreasing and the later increasing in populations around the world.
Source: Sience Daily