We have all been told since our childhood that irregular sleep patterns are bad for health. You might still take this for granted, but you should know that there is a significant negative impact on the activity of our genes if sleep patterns are disturbed. If you’re a frequent traveler, or you have multiple shifts at work, you are studying in a college, or employed at any place where you’re overworked, beware that sleeping during the day and staying up at night will only have adverse effects on your health.
The Test Conducted
The researchers at the University of Surrey in the UK conducted their tests by interrupting the sleep of participants at regular intervals over three days, and they took blood samples on a regular basis to see the function of genes. It was concluded that disruptions in sleep at daytime caused a major disruption in the rhythms of almost half of the participant’s genes.
The research team tried altering and manipulating the sleep patterns of the participants by delaying their bedtime by three to four hours every day until the participants were 12 hours away from their original sleeping patterns. This was done to see how jet lag or working extra hours would affect a person’s genes.
The results of this test were made evident with the examination of blood samples that revealed a noteworthy decrease in the gene expression, which was responsible for the change in circadian rhythm (sleep cycles), along with other body functions like metabolism, cognitive functions like stress and anxiety, the immune response and even inflammation. Disruptions in the expression of genes have a profound effect on your overall health because these genes carry the information needed to make proteins, and these proteins produce hormones that regulate all the functions in your body. (Haiken, 2014)
Connection Between Interrupted Sleep And Health Issues
Interrupted sleep and health problems, like heart diseases, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer have a very strong connection. Multiple kinds of research have associated staying up late at night and working over-time with negative health conditions. These conditions include depression and a high chance of early death. Moreover, research has also proven that continuously sleeping less will lead to strokes, whereas a regular pattern of sleep at the right time will keep you fit and healthy.
The leading professor of the Surrey university suggested after researching that people who work extra hours while compromising on their sleep, business travelers, students who are disrupting their sleep cycles to score a good grade, and anyone who is sleep-deprived will suffer from worrisome implications. There are several organizations where you’ll see nap rooms. Usually, these firms set these up for their employees to have a short nap in the day time to make up for their late nights. This practice seriously exacerbates the overall health.
According to a poll conducted by the National sleep foundation, around 43% of Americans under the age of 64 are found to be sleep-deprived, which is having a serious toll on their health. (Haiken, 2014)
Effects On Women
Another study that was published recently by the researchers at Yale University along with the Danish Cancer Society, showed that females who were working late at night also went through serious epigenetic changes. These changes were impacting gene expression and this has also been regarded as a cause for breast cancer in a lot of women.
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Haiken, M. (2014). Jet Lag, Late Nights, And Naps Disrupt Gene Function, New Study Shows. New York: Pharma and healthcare.