Sleep helps chronic pain sufferers remain active

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A better night’s sleep may help chronic pain sufferers keep up their physical activity routines, according to a new study from the University of Warwick in England.

Patients who suffer from chronic pain are often treated with increased physical activity like exercise and cycling classes or physiotherapy, but some struggle to stay active because of their pain. But researchers at the University of Warwick were curious if better sleep would make them more likely to stay active. They had chronic pain sufferers wear an accelerometer to track their movement throughout the day, and had patients track their sleep quality, mood, and pain levels in the morning using an electronic diary.

“[W]e found that chronic pain patients spontaneously engaged in more physical activity following a better night of sleep,” lead study author Dr. Nicole Tang was quoted as saying. "The research points to sleep as not only an answer to pain-related insomnia but also as a novel method to keep sufferers physically active, opening a new avenue for improving the quality of life of chronic pain sufferers."

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