LOSS OF SLEEP CAN ALTER GENES BUT DAMAGE CAN BE FIXED, STUDY FINDS

Mar 06, 2013

By Jane Brown

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Did YOU get enough sleep last night?  A new study finds robbing yourself of even an hour or two of sleep a night can radically alter more than 700 genes in your body responsible for repairing tissues and cells. Researchers at the University of Surrey quarantined 26 people in the university’s sleep lab for more than 2 weeks.  Half had a week of 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night; half had about six hours.  After a week, they switched.  At the end of the 2 weeks, both groups were kept awake for 40 hours and underwent regular blood and cognitive tests.  The well rested group bounced back from the 40 hour ordeal with no signs of damage.  The sleep deprived group showed 711 genes which had circadian rhythms were out of whack or failed to do vital repair work.  Lead author Colin Smith says the study “suggests a third of the population is walking around with their bodies under stress, not in a happy state.  The good news,” he says,  “is that you can fix that damage if you catch up on your sleep about once a week.”

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