It is already known that sleep deprivation is associated with the decline of many voluntary and involuntary functions in the human body. Chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of many diseases and disorders.
A recent study has highlighted another neurological effect of sleep deprivation, an increase in pain.
According to the authors of the study, sleep deprivation impedes the natural mechanisms in the brain, which aims to alleviate the pain, which may increase the appetite to take the painkillers.
The study involved 24 healthy and young people with no sleep problems. The researchers increasingly applied heat to their legs and, in the process, photographed their magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the circuitry. Once researchers were able to determine the pain threshold for each participant, they re-experimented after depriving participants of a full night’s sleep.
The researchers found that pain thresholds decreased in all participants, meaning that their brains became more responsive to pain than in the case of good sleep. Magnetic resonance imaging also showed a decrease in the activity of the nucleus accumbens in the brain nucleus accumbens, the region responsible for the secretion of dopamine, which gives the feeling of happiness and reduce pain.
The researchers stress the importance of using the results of this study in the treatment of pain, it should be ensured that patients suffering from chronic pain to sleep sufficient in parallel with the treatment plan used to relieve pain.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Neuroscience , conducted by researchers from the University of California, USA.
Source: Medical News Today