MAR 07, 2019 5:06 PM PST

Sleep Loss Intensifies Pain

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have found that when the brain is deprived of sleep, neural glitches occur, which can intensify and lengthen sickness and injury. The findings have been reported in the Journal of Neuroscience and are outlined in the video.

"If poor sleep intensifies our sensitivity to pain, as this study demonstrates, then sleep must be placed much closer to the center of patient care, especially in hospital wards," noted the senior author of the report Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of neuroscience and psychology.

In this study, the scientists applied uncomfortable amounts of heat to the legs of two dozen healthy volunteers, as their brains were scanned. During times of insufficient sleep, the sensation and evaluation of pain signals and the activation of natural pain relievers was disrupted. 

Not only was pain sensitivity ramped up in the somatosensory cortex of the brain, activity was reduced in an area that raises dopamine levels in response to pain - the nucleus accumbens. "Sleep loss not only amplifies the pain-sensing regions in the brain but blocks the natural analgesia centers, too," Walker explained.


Sources: AAAS/Eurekalert! Via UC Berkeley, Journal of Neuroscience

About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on over 30 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 70 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
You May Also Like
JUL 26, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
AI Creates Proteins that Rival Those in Nature
JUL 26, 2020
AI Creates Proteins that Rival Those in Nature
Proteins are crucial for the function of cells in living organisms. Now, researchers have developed a machine leaning-le ...
AUG 18, 2020
Space & Astronomy
First Visitor from Another Solar System Remains Unknown
AUG 18, 2020
First Visitor from Another Solar System Remains Unknown
An object hurtling through our solar system known as 'Oumuamua' is our first visitor from another solar sys ...
AUG 22, 2020
Neuroscience
Why Don't Babies Always Remember What they Learn?
AUG 22, 2020
Why Don't Babies Always Remember What they Learn?
Researchers from Ruhr- Universitaet Bochum (RUB) in Germany have found that the mood babies are in when they learn somet ...
OCT 07, 2020
Plants & Animals
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
OCT 07, 2020
Tasmanian Devils Return to Mainland Australia
For the first time in about 3,000 years, Tasmanian devils have returned to mainland Australia. According to a report fro ...
OCT 14, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
The CRISPR Nobel Win from Different Angles
OCT 14, 2020
The CRISPR Nobel Win from Different Angles
CRISPR-Cas9 was THE buzz word in the world of science after the Nobel Chemistry Prize announcement last week. But depend ...
OCT 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
OCT 15, 2020
An Estimated 38 Million People were Exposed to Polluted Wildfire Smoke
As wildfires continue to burn record-breaking acreages along the west coast of the United States and inland regions, hos ...
Loading Comments...