If you suffer from regular, or even chronic pain in your joints, then the chances are you're willing to try anything to reduce the discomfort, and regain some of the freedom you had when your mobility was still at top form. While there are plenty of physical and dietary changes that you can make to your lifestyle to help you improve your wellbeing and banish pain, there is one very simple thing that most people fail to consider: Sleep can help you feel less pain.
A quick catnap after work, or before you head out onto the track might not always work to cast away the pangs of exhaustion that come from a poor night's rest, but studies have begun to show that even a little extra snooze-time could reduce your pain sensitivity levels, meaning that knee compression options aren't your only way to perform better at the gym.
Sleep and Soreness
Experts have known for some time that, among the other negative effects that poor sleep can have on your health, more sleep makes you feel less pain by maximizing your pain tolerance. In other words, everything from a hard interval workout to an unexpected injury could hurt less if you're well rested.
Now, that's not to say that you should hit the snooze button then head out with the intention to injure yourself, but the research suggests that some sweet dreams could be what you need to protect yourself from additional discomfort when on the road to getting in shape.
In a study conducted on sleep and pain connectivity, sleepy volunteers who managed to get two hours of extra sleep per night for a period of four nights showed significant improvements when their pain sensitivity levels were measured by trained professionals. The participants who got more sleep were also, quite predictably, more alert and energetic throughout the day.
If you're already getting your recommended seven to nine hours of sleep every night, the chances are that you don't need additional rest, and your discomfort could be a sign of another problem - such as an injury in your joints. However, if you only spend six hours in bed each night, the latest evidence that more sleep makes you feel less pain could be the push you need to convince you to take a couple of early nights.
The Other benefits of Sleep
Of course, sleep isn't just a good way to make you tougher when you go to the gym or step-up to your treadmill at home. It's also important for a wide range of other reasons, including:
- Improving your memory
- Making you happier
- Boosting your metabolism
- Letting you live longer
- Inspiring creativity and cognitive function
- Lowering stress levels
Since sleeping can help you to lose weight faster too, it helps to remove pain in another way, by banishing the extra strain your joints have to cope with when you're working out. So go ahead and hit that snooze button!