A recent study accentuates the importance of a good night’s sleep, and the role of sleep deprivation in the development of chronic disease. The study linked sleep deprivation to DNA damage.1
Sleep deprivation linked to DNA damage
The authors comment that though the research is preliminary, it is very clear that even a single night of insomnia or sleep deprivation can contribute to the triggering of physiological events that lead to chronic disease.
The sleep deprivation study
The study, interestingly enough, was conducted using doctors as the test population. Forty-nine full-time doctors had their blood analyzed at different points in time. On-call doctors who were required to work overnight on-site had lower DNA repair gene expression and more DNA breaks than participants who did not work overnight. In the overnight on-site call doctors, DNA repair gene expression decreased and DNA breaks increased after periods of sleep deprivation. These changes were seen after only a single night of losing sleep.
DNA damage and diseases
Although additional research is needed, this DNA damage may help explain the increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases associated with sleep deprivation.
“Although this work is very preliminary, it is clear from the results that even a single night of sleep deprivation can trigger events that may contribute to the development of chronic disease,” said senior author Dr. Siu-Wai Choi, of the University of Hong Kong.
Night shifts, on call duties, and frequently changing work patterns
“Anaesthetists (and other health professionals) frequently work night shifts and on call duties, and their work patterns change frequently between night and day work. This study is important in that it will allow future researchers to study the impact of changing the way we work and other interventions by evaluating DNA breaks in the same way as the authors of this groundbreaking study have done,” said Dr Klein, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal.
- Cheung V, Yuen VM, Wong GTC, Choi SW. The effect of sleep deprivation and disruption on DNA damage and health of doctors. Anaesthesia. 2018
Razi Berry is the founder and publisher of the journal Naturopathic Doctor News & Review that has been in print since 2005 and the premier consumer-faced website of naturopathic medicine, NaturalPath. She is the host of The Natural Cancer Prevention Summit and The Heart Revolution-Heal, Empower and Follow Your Heart, and the popular 10 week Sugar Free Summer program. From a near death experience as a young girl that healed her failing heart, to later overcoming infertility and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia through naturopathic medicine, Razi has lived the mind/body healing paradigm. Her projects uniquely capture the tradition and philosophy of naturopathy: The healing power of nature, the vital life force in every living thing and the undeniable role that science and mind/body medicine have in creating health and overcoming dis-ease. Follow Razi on Facebook at Razi Berry and join us at Love is Medicine to explore the convergence of love and health.