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Good sleep prevents disease

8th September 2008

Losing sleep for even part of the night can prompt an inflammatory response in the immune system.

Sleeping

Researchers writing in the journal Biological Pschiatry report that loss of sleep, even for a few short hours can prompt the immune system to turn against healthy tissue and organs.

Sleep loss triggers the cellular pathway that produces tissue-damaging inflammation, suggesting that a good night’s sleep might protect against both heart disease and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.

During the study, participants were given either normal sleep, or sleep deprivation, where they were awake from 11pm to 3am.

They were assessed at baseline, after sleep deprivation and after recovery sleep for levels of a transcription factor at cellular level that plays a part in the signalling of inflammation processes through the body.

Signals from nuclear factor (NF)-kB in healthy adults were significantly greater in the morning after sleep loss, than after baseline or recovery sleep, in females only, suggesting that women are more at risk of an inflammatory response from sleep loss than men.

The study sheds some light on the cellular mechanisms by which sleep loss enhances inflammatory biology, suggesting a link between sleep disturbance and a wide spectrum of medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, certain cancers, and obesity in humans. 

Journal editor John Krystal said the closer researchers looked at sleep, the more they learned about its benefits.

He said the research had shown evidence that sleep deprivation was associated with enhancement of pro-inflammatory processes in the body.

The researchers said that physical and psychological stress brought on in part by grinding work, school and social schedules was keeping millions of Americans up at night, and that the nation's sleep habits were not healthy.

The findings suggested that even modest sleep loss could play a role in common disorders that affect sweeping segments of the population.

Sleep, the research team concluded, is vitally important to maintaining a healthy body. And the findings provided a potential mechanistic avenue through which addressing sleep disturbance might improve health.

 

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Article Information

Title: Good sleep prevents disease
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 8147
Date Added: 8th Sep 2008

Sources

Arthritis Research UK
Science Daily

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