Scientists have found we feel pain less after a full night’s rest than if we are sleep deprived.
They tested this by placing hot electronic pads on the legs of 25 volunteers.
After eight hours of good sleep they felt no pain until the temperature hit 43.9ºC, on average, but when sleep-deprived they were in pain at 41.7ºC.
The scientists also carried out a survey of 236 people with common afflictions including back pain, arthritis, headaches and diabetic nerve pain, which found their pain improved after good-quality sleep.
MRI scans of the volunteers whose legs were heated up found that well-slept people show less activity in the part of the brain that reacts to pain, according to the study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
They have more activity in the nucleus accumbens “the painkiller” region of the brain which triggers a helpful chemical called dopamine to make them feel better.