Sleep loss ''has same effect as stress''
New research has highlighted a similar link between lack of restful sleep and the impact on the immune system as high levels of stress.
A study carried out by the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey and scientists from Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam has revealed failure to get a good night's sleep could be considerably damaging to an individual's health.
The report was published in this month's edition of the journal Sleep and saw 15 young men subjected to sleep deprivation, while a control group of 15 were allowed to enjoy a proper night of uninterrupted restful slumber in comfortable beds
Results showed that for those who were sleep deprived, white blood cell counts - particularly cells known as granulocytes - were significantly higher than for those in the control group, as the body began to lose its grip on the day-night cycle.
This highlights a significant concern regarding the impact of a lack of sleep on the body's ability to ward off disease.
The research concluded that prolonged sleep deprivation could have a significant impact on an individual's likelihood to develop immune system deficiency diseases, such as common variable immunodeficiency or autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome.
Lead author Katrin Ackermann commented: "Future research will reveal the molecular mechanisms behind this immediate stress response and elucidate its role in the development of diseases associated with chronic sleep loss.
"If confirmed with more data, this will have implications for clinical practice and for professions associated with long-term sleep loss, such as rotating shift work."
Meanwhile, the health risks associated with the condition sleep apnoea were recently highlighted by the Kiowa County Signal, with sufferers shown to be less likely to receive the recommended minimum amount of sleep per night.
An inability to properly oxygenate the blood while sleeping can lead to individuals being awakened on multiple occasions throughout the night, while in extremely severe cases these attacks can occur every few minutes, depriving the body of much-needed deep sleep.
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes