By Sam Kent at Sleephelp.org
Chronic aches and pains can limit your activity and make it hard to enjoy time with family and friends. Whether your pain comes from overuse or injury, it can be helped by a combination of regular massage and high-quality sleep.
The Relationship Between Pain and Sleep
Pain and sleep have an interconnected relationship that cannot be ignored. As you are probably already well aware, the discomfort of chronic aches and pains can lead to long sleepless nights. That lack of sleep, however, can come back to increase your pain.
A 2012 study published in the journal Sleep tested the pain perception of participants after having gotten four versus eight hours of sleep. Pain tolerance was tested by placing the finger over a heat source and measuring how long the pain could be reasonably tolerated. After eight hours of sleep, participants’ pain tolerance increased by twenty-five percent. When it comes down to it, if you’re already experiencing chronic pain, lack of sleep no matter what the source can make it more difficult to tolerate and withstand pain.
Lack of sleep can also decrease your sensitivity to pain medications. One study found that lack of sleep reduced the effectiveness of codeine, a prescription pain reliever. Sleep-deprived participants had lower, shorter pain tolerances. The science suggests that adequate sleep has to be a part of proper pain management.
The Benefits of Massage for Pain (and Sleep)
When sleep and massage are used together, they’re a powerful combination against the pain that could be limiting your lifestyle. Massage benefits pain reduction and sleep in a number of different ways. Muscles tighten as stress levels rise leading to imbalance and discomfort even after leaving the stressful situation.
Massage reduces inflammation in the muscle and increases the level of proteins that produce energy and help the muscle recover. It effectively activates healing by signaling the muscle mitochondria, the power cells of the cellular world. Basically, reducing pain and improving recovery times can not only make you feel better but it can also reduce symptoms of insomnia due to pain relief and added relaxation.
How to Improve Your Sleep
Sleep-promoting massage alone may not be able to help you get the rest you need. Your personal habits and sleep environment can either help or hinder your efforts for good sleep.
The regular use of massage along with good sleep habits can give you an edge over your aches and pains. As you’re better able to manage pain, you’ll finally be able to live the active lifestyle you want.
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