Sunday, March 22, 2015

Napping Increases Your Pain Tolerance

Napping or knocked out?
Well, here's a study showing a great reason for you to nap, if you can afford to take one.

If you haven't had a good night's sleep, consider a quick morning snooze instead. The quick catnap may not make you less sleepy but research shows a surprising benefit of a quick 30 minute snooze, subjects became less sensitive to pain.

In this study, researchers restricted the healthy subjects to just two hours of sleep. The subjects were then tested for pain tolerance with heat, cold and pressure on their upper back, lower back and thighs.

The subjects reported that their lower backs hurt more with heat and their upper backs felt worse with pressure compared to when they were well rested and not sleep deprived.

On another occasion, the subjects went through the same tests, albeit with two 30 minute naps in the morning and afternoon. The naps did not reduce sleepiness, in fact most subjects said they felt more sleepy after the naps.

What was surprising was that the naps restored pain sensitivity to previous baseline levels.

Bearing in mind that naps are not a substitute for a full night's rest, this may be indicative that napping may help recovery processes that occur during sleep including tissue repair and growth hormone release.

Not every subject in the stusy had the same degree of benefit and more research will be needed to confirm results.

My take on this? Try short 10-30 minute naps in the late morning (especially if you get up very early to train) and see if this helps your training. I find that if I nap in the afternoon it becomes more difficult for me to fall asleep that night.


Faraut B, Leger D et al (2015). Napping Reverses Increased Pain Sensitivity Due To Sleep Restriction. PlosOne. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117425.

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