Can alertness– from sleep or caffeine– mitigate pain? Reader’s Digest reports. 

Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center kept mice awake by entertaining them with toys and activities, mimicking how humans put off bedtime by watching TV or playing on their phones. Don’t miss these other sleep mistakes ruining your rest.

The scientists then timed how long it took the rodents to react to pressure, heat, cold, and capsaicin, a natural compound in spicy peppers that causes that burning sensation. The mice moved away or licked the stinging area quicker when they’d experienced five days of sleep deprivation, signaling that tired mice felt more pain. And it wasn’t just that the mice were jumpier; the rodents didn’t react any faster to loud sounds when they were sleepy.

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