Sleep deprivation causes cell damage

9 December 2014

A team has discovered a new link between sleep loss and cell damage, a report published in Sleep journal states.

Scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) have found that sleep deprivation causes damage to cells, especially those housed in the liver, lung, and small intestine. However, the findings also suggest that recovery sleep afterward can help heal the damage.

Led by Carol Everson, professor of neurology, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at MCW, the study discovered this new link, and thereby indicates a connection between sleep deprivation and disease progression.

This could encourage more people to consider the benefits of surgery to help problems such as sleep apnoea. In addition, improving sleep was found to restore the balance and decrease cell injury. 

"The study culminates years of work and provides physical evidence that sleep deprivation injures cells and that sleep recovery restores the balance between, among other parameters, DNA damage and repair," Dr Everson said. 

She added that this is important as specific physical underpinnings that pose disease risk from sleep deficiency have previously been elusive but are now being identified.

Posted by Philip Briggs 


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