Why Lack Of Sleep – Not Just A Unsupportive Mattress – Is Bad For Your Back

Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 20, 2020

discogenic spine pain

When people think of how a poor night’s sleep leads to back pain, they typically imagine that the problem is caused by a poor sleep position or an unsupportive mattress. Don’t get us wrong, those are two common causes of back pain, but they aren’t the only sleep-related factors that can lead to worsening back pain. One such issue is a lack of sleep altogether. We explain why a lack of sleep can be so bad for your spine in today’s blog.

How Not Enough Sleep Affects Your Back

Not getting enough sleep can cause a number of problems for your back. Here’s how getting fewer than the recommended eight hours of sleep can cause problems for your spine.

  • Inflammation – Sleep is a restorative process that helps eliminate waste products and calm certain body processes. If this waste isn’t regularly removed through the natural sleep cycle, or if areas of your body don’t “turn off,” so to speak, for long enough, it can cause an inflammatory response from your body, leading to pain and discomfort in your spine. One study found that lack of sleep was associated with an overactive immune system, which can lead to more inflammatory defense responses inside your body.
  • Increased Pain Sensation – Another study found that patients who reported inadequate sleep were more likely to have higher pain ratings when exposed to the same pain stimuli as those who received adequate sleep each night. In other words, lack of sleep can make back pain seem more intense.
  • It Only Takes One – Research on the effects of lack of sleep found that it doesn’t take weeks and weeks of inadequate sleep in order for the effects to be felt on your spine. Just one night of fewer than six hours of sleep has been linked to increased pain sensitivity and a higher risk of anxiety, which can also factor into the pain equation.
  • Stops Natural Pain Relievers – Sleep helps our body build natural painkillers. A small study found that patients who received 10 hours of sleep were able to keep their finger on a heat source for noticeably longer than those who received eight hours of sleep or less, suggesting that a good night’s sleep could help quell pain or help with discomfort after a spinal procedure.

As you can see, there are a lot of processes going on in your body while it’s sleeping, and all of this can’t get done correctly if you’re only getting 5-6 hours of sleep each night. Prioritize sleep and get into a healthy sleep routine where you’re actively trying to get enough sleep. This doesn’t mean you’re in bed and watching TV or playing on your phone for an hour, it means the lights and electronics are off and you’re actively trying to get a good night’s sleep.

If you believe your spine pain is linked to sleep deprivation and you want to get a handle on either aspect of your care, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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