People who sleep poorly may be more likely to develop a chronic pain condition and have worse physical health, according to a study published in Sleep Medicine.
A general decline in both the quantity and quality of hours slept led to a two- to three-fold increase in pain problems over time, researchers found.
Researchers reviewed 16 studies involving more than 60,000 adults from 10 countries. The studies looked at how well people were sleeping at the start, and then evaluated the effects of long-term sleep changes on pain, immune function and physical health.
Overall, sleep reductions led to impaired responses to bacteria, viruses and other foreign substances, more inflammation, higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol and other biomarkers related to pain, fatigue and poor health. Newly developed insomnia doubled the risk of a chronic pain disorder and hip fracture problems.