Since bad or disrupted sleep is a curse of our times, a great deal of researchers are studying and analyzing this problem with the objective to find effective solutions and inform people about the related dangers and risks.
The most recent studies have found out that chronic sleep disorders and even such a common problem as a lack of sleep are closely linked to numerous harmful health effects, including increased intolerance to stresses, higher risks for heart diseases and obesity, and many others. Poor sleep impacts our brain function and genetics, makes us prone to overeating and suffering from serious mental diseases, including even dementia. It is estimated that about 12 per cent of modern time’s Britons suffer from serious sleep disorders or sleep disturbances like sleep apnea, inability to fall asleep and insomnia, thus suffering from a chronic lack of sleep (or sleep less than 6 hours a day). This impacts their health to a great extent, regardless of such people being aware or unaware about the dangers and risks linked to sleep disturbances.
According to the newly published findings by a research group from the University of Surrey, only one week of disturbed sleep or sleeping less than 6 hours a day is enough to visit a serious damage upon our overall health. It can disrupt over 7 hundred of genes and sky rocket our risks for very serious diseases, especially infectious diseases, as well as the conditions caused by poor function of our immune system and stresses. The research involved analyzing the info collected on 26 volunteers, young men and women in good health, who suffered from sleep disorders. Their sleep, daily activities, nutrition and other relevant factors were monitored for a few weeks. The first thing that the researchers could notice was different effects of disrupted sleep and sleep deprivation on people. In particular, in some participants disrupted sleep caused hyperactivity, but in some participants, on the contrary, a lack of sleep has become a cause of being inactive, sleepy, and ineffective in their daily activities.
Further analysis has shown that chronic disrupted sleep has negative effects, first of all, on genes of such people. It primarily damages the function of the genes responsible for our metabolism, biological clock, immune system and our responses to stresses. Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, one of the study leaders and a specialist at the University of Surrey, is convinced that the findings should receive a serious public attention and contribute into public understanding of the dangers behind sleep disorders. ‘Multiple studies have shown self-reported short sleep duration – defined in most studies as less than six hours – is associated with negative health outcomes such as all-cause mortality, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and impaired vigilance and cognition,’ he wrote in the report. The findings of the British scientists were recently published in one of the online issues of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and reported by a great number of the most popular mass media, both printed and online.
The study included an interesting experiment on making a person remain sleepless for about 40 hours. It gave scientists plenty of ideas about the mechanisms how disrupted sleep affects out genes and damages out overall health. It is interesting that not long ago, the findings of another study were published saying that disrupted sleep has extremely negative effects on kids, causing mainly slowed down brain activity, inability to focus and get concentrated, as well as decreased ability to think, memorize things, and think. These findings of a research group the University of Tuebingen, Germany, should be taken into account by all modern parents, and it is very important to prove modern kids with proper amounts of sleep. This issue is especially topical for those people who live in developed countries and in highly industrialized societies, who extensively use the amenities of modern technologies, including computer games, the latest communication technologies, and other various types of entertainment which is the leading cause of disrupted sleep in kids.