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Why do you feel more pain at night?

Pain is a subject which is very complex, and scientists are continuing to learn more about how pain exists and its effect on our nervous system. Pain is often described as being worse at night, and previous researchers have attempted to link increased night-time pain with sleep deprivation or disrupted sleep.

A recent study looked into the link between changing pain sensitivity and the human circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are biological processes which refine their activity to rise and fall at precise times of the day, driven by the body's internal clock. A cohort of male subjects were exposed to a pain stimulus throughout a 36-hour period in a very controlled environment. The research project observed that a short, painful heat stimulus was perceived to be most painful around 3am, and the least painful at approximately 3pm.

Such research could offer insightful options in using personalised circadian medicine for pain management. It could also offer doctors a new approach to medicating patients and adjust their schedule according to their circadian rhythm.

Daguet, I., et al. (2022). Circadian rhythmicity of pain sensitivity in humans. Brain. 1093.


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