Lack of sleep increases pain after operations but caffeine lessens the effect, research team discovers

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sleep deprivation, operation, surgery, caffeine, arthritis pain, arthritis magazineCaffeine blocks the increase in surgical pain caused by previous sleep loss, says a new study published in Sleep.

“Several studies demonstrate that pre- and postoperative sleep disturbances worsen pain and, more importantly, predict the onset of long-term postoperative pain,” explains Dr Giancarlo Vanini, one of the research team.”

Using rodents the team found that extended wakefulness before surgery increased pain levels after surgery and recovery time. But caffeine helped to lessen the effect.

“Caffeine blocked the increase in surgical pain caused by previous sleep loss,” Dr Vanini says. “Surprisingly, the data showed that this is not due to caffeine’s analgesic (pain relieving) properties.

“These results are relevant because sleep disorders and insufficient sleep are highly prevalent problems in our society. Additionally, often times patients travel long distances during the night or early morning before being admitted into the hospital for elective surgery. In one way or another, most patients do not get adequate sleep before surgery.”

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