Lack of Sleep has Potentially Harmful Effects on Gene Expression

A sleep deficit – even just a week’s worth – can have damaging effects on our genes, researchers said in a new study.  Lack of adequate shut-eye had already been linked to conditions from heart disease and cognitive impairment to obesity.  But sleep researcher Derk-Jan Dijk and his fellow researchers have delved into the molecular mechanisms behind the phenomenon, looking at how missed sleep leads to health problems.  They found that a week of sleeping six hours or less a night affects the expression of some 711 genes – including those involved in inflammation, immunity, and stress responses.

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