Exercise is important in managing pain in people with chronic pain, and a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, shows that sleep is a better predictor of next-day physical activity than pain intensity or mood in the morning.
Study researcher Dr. Nicole Tang, of the University of Warwick in England said, “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, opening a new avenue for improving the quality of life of chronic pain sufferers.”
The study included 119 chronic pain patients who wore accelerometers to measure their physical activity 24/7 for a week. The patients also completed sleep diaries and reported their sleep quality every morning.
Researchers saw a connection between reports of higher sleep quality and increased physical activity in the second half of the day (from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.).
Ironically, researchers did not find sleep efficiency was associated with physical activity the next day. “This pattern of findings underscore the qualitative difference between the two sleep parameters, and it seems plausible that a person’s subjective perception of their sleep quality carries a stronger influence on subsequent physical activity than their objective sleep experience,” the researchers wrote.
Morning pain and morning mood were also not found to be linked with next-day physical activity.
The findings suggest “a naturally energizing function of sleep and highlights the often- overlooked continuity between nighttime sleep and daytime physical activity,” researchers wrote. “Existing strategies for promoting physical activity tend to focus on actions during the day. Additional efforts in promoting sleep among physically inactive subgroups may increase the overall impact of these interventions.” huffposthealth 3/31/14