26 Feb '13, 11am

Sleeping less than six hours a night affects hundreds of genes involved in health, say scientists

Sleeping less than six hours a night affects hundreds of genes involved in health, say scientists

LONDON — Getting too little sleep for several nights in a row disrupts hundreds of genes that are essential for good health, including those linked to stress and fighting disease. Tests on people who slept less than six hours a night for a week revealed substantial changes in the activity of genes that govern the immune system, metabolism, sleep and wake cycles, and the body’s response to stress, suggesting that poor sleep could have a broad impact on long-term wellbeing. The changes, which affected more than 700 genes, may shed light on the biological mechanisms that raise the risk of a host of ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stress and depression, in people who get too little sleep. “The surprise for us was that a relatively modest difference in sleep duration leads to these kinds of changes,” said Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, director of the Surrey Sle...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/daily-focus/health/sleeping-le...

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