Sleep Deprivation Can Alter Genes

Research in the PNAS Journal indicates that a lack of sleep can have a profound effect on the internal workings of the human body. Studies show that the activity of hundreds of genes were altered when sleep was reduced to less than 6 hours every day in a week.

This news follows the recent developments in the media linking a lack of sleep and regular snoring with cardiovascular issues such a high blood pressure and stroke.

This research however indicated that a lack of sleep can potentially alter genes, particularly after prolonged periods of time.

Researchers at the University of Surrey examined the blood of 26 subjects who had sufficient sleep comparing the results with samples from subjects who had fewer than 6 hours a night (below the recommended amount)

Genes have instructions for building protein, after a lack of sleep the genes that were effected produced a lesser amount which essentially changes the chemistry within the body.

Studies showed that the immune system in particular was affected by the stress caused by lack of sleep, indicating that failing to get the required amount of sleep each night can leave you susceptible to common viruses and the flu.

Professor Colin Smith from the University of Surrey explained:

“Clearly sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds of damage appear to occur hinting at what may lead to ill health”

Sleep is necessary to replenish and replace new cells. Failing to get the required sleep can have a degenerative effect on the body, leaving it more prone to disease and common viruses.

The link with Snoring

Snoring has been found to be one of the major causes of sleep deprivation particularly for the partners of regular habitual snorers, by cutting out snoring it’s possible to eliminate the negative effect sleep deprivation has on the body.

By Richard Owen