Stress and Pain are Affected by Sleep

Shared by Dr. Justin Thompson

Stress and Pain

We spend a large portion of our lives sleeping. It is well documented that sleep plays a crucial role in our bodies’ physiological recovery. This could include fighting off sickness or maximizing the gains from your workout regime. Sleep and its influence on stress and pain has been less examined. I stumbled upon a meta-analysis of randomized control trials that explores how improving sleep quality, improves overall mental health and can reduce pain. This is relevant to all of us because sleep is something that all humans need! In addition, it is important to note that about 1/3 of the general population reports experiencing insomnia or sleep difficulties. The attached study looked at a total of 65 trials and found that improving sleep quality led to improved levels of anxiety, depressive symptoms, stress, and rumination. Even though this relationship is of casual nature, it is encouraging as we all can take steps to improve our sleep! This is something that we all could benefit from.


Some of the interventions that the analysis examined were sleep hygiene education, yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, and cognitive behavioral therapy. The intervention that is most applicable to us is that of sleep hygiene. To put it simply this is your relationship with sleep. Perhaps the easiest things we can do to improve our sleep hygiene is to avoid electronics and blue light before bed, having a fixed bedtime, and developing an environment conducive to sleep. This could include everything from having a bed that fits your body to utilizing ear plugs or blackout shades.


Since we spend so much of our time asleep it is so important to take it seriously. The physical health benefits have been researched in depth. This research review is promising because it starts to reveal the correlation between healthy sleep and mental health. I strongly suggest looking into this review in addition to playing with different techniques to improve your own sleep hygiene! If you want to learn of ways to improve your sleep, I also suggest looking into Andrew Huberman’s ‘The Huberman lab’ podcast. He outlines the importance of sleep on your physical body and its role in maintaining homeostasis. Sometimes in life, it is the small changes such as our sleep habits that have a compounding effect!

Research Referenced

Scott, A. J., Webb, T. L., Martyn-St James, M., Rowse, G., & Weich, S. (2021). Improving sleep quality leads to better mental health: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 60, 101556.

Our Message

Our Chiropractors located in Minneapolis, near the corner of MN-100 S & Lake Rd./Westside Dr., will teach you what the research says about how and why we should eat a better diet, move more and have more positive thoughts. By improving these areas of our lives we can become healthier, decrease back pain and avoid diabetes and other diseases!