According to new research by University of Warwick, sleep was a worthy target for treating chronic pain and not only as an answer to pain-related insomnia.

"Very often, clinicians would prescribe exercise classes, physiotherapy, walking and cycling programmes as part of the treatment but who would like to engage in these activities when they feel like a zombie?" lead author Nicole Tang argued.

Tang and study co-author Adam Sanborn examined day-to-day association between night-time sleep and day-time physical activity in chronic pain patients.

Many of the patients struggled to stay physically active after the onset of pain.

"We found that chronic pain patients spontaneously engaged in more physical activity following a better night of sleep," they noted.

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.

"Sleep has a naturally recuperative power that is often overlooked in pain management. A greater treatment emphasis on sleep may help patients improve their daytime functioning and hence their quality of life," Tang added. The study was published in the journal PLoS One.


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