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Lack of sleep is linked to an increase in pain

Lack of sleep is linked to an increase in pain

We all know that sleep is essential for our overall health and wellbeing.
But interestingly, recent research from Great Britain has shown that poor or insufficient sleep was associated with new widespread pain conditions in adults over 50.

Doctors at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre of Keele University found that in older adults multiple sites of pain are common and are associated with morbidity and disability including poor mental health and reduced physical functioning. Their research showed non-restorative sleep to be the strongest predictor of new widespread pain. Other factors included anxiety, physical health and cognitive problems and osteoarthritis. But frequently having “non-restorative” sleep was found to be the strongest link; therefore, the poor sleepers were almost twice as likely to report new widespread pain than those who had restorative sleep. As these people were pain free at the beginning of the study this gives a strong indicator to the effects of poor sleep on pain. Although it is not clear that whether the pain also contributed to their poor sleep.

This study highlights the importance of sleep for rest and cellular repair.

Poor sleep also contributes to:

  • Premature ageing
  • Weight gain
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease and cancer
  • Poor brain function
  • Emotional stress
  • Anxiety and depression

Simple tips to improve sleep

  • Go to bed at the same time every night, for the most restorative sleep aim for 9.30 – 10pm
  • Avoid caffeine after 2pm
  • Address stress in your life – stress hormones affect sleep quality and quantity
  • Have a relaxing calming night-time routine
  • Have warm bath half an hour before bed
  • Do some deep breathing or meditation before bed
  • Avoid bright lights and electronic screens 1.5 hours before bed

Nutrients to support sleep and reduce pain and inflammation


Magnesium is an essential intra-cellular mineral and is required for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body. Many people eat a low magnesium diet full of processed foods, meat and dairy which are all poor sources of magnesium causing it to be probably the most mineral deficiency in the developed world. Magnesium is used to help many conditions including – cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, diabetes, fibromyalgia, migraines and headaches, PMT and stress and insomnia.

Magnesium supports sleep by increasing the time spent in slow wave sleep the most restorative and rejuvenating phase of our sleep. Magnesium help reduces pain in the body by reducing a pain chemical called NMDA. Additionally magnesium supports our bodies to deal with stress. Unfortunately, stress and not sleeping both deplete magnesium from our body leading to a vicious cycle of increasing stress and sleeplessness.

Vitamin C

Like magnesium vitamin C has many functions in the body. It is essential to make collagen the main protein compound in our body, which forms our connective tissue, cartilage, tendons, parts of bone and skin. Vitamin C is also important for immune function and has many antioxidant actions in the body. Additionally, vitamin C can lower cortisol the main stress hormone affecting sleep and reduce inflammation and promote healing to reduce pain.

Naturopathic tip

Use SleepDrops Essential Sleep Nutrients if you are over 50 or have trouble sleeping as it contains magnesium and vitamin C. This formula was developed to support  the body during stressful times and support a restorative sleep.