Experts insist on the importance of adequate sleeping, though studies are often contradictory about the effects of sleep deprivation and what exactly is ‘adequate sleeping’. Now, researchers in the Netherlands and in the UK have found yet another consequence of severe sleep deprivation: it affects the immune system in a similar way as physical stress.
Concretely, they found that the granulocytes, a category of white blood cells, ‘reacted immediately to the physical stress of sleep loss and directly mirrored the body’s stress response,’ according to co-author Katrin Ackermann, of the Erasmus MC University Medical Centre Rotterdam.
Researchers conducted an experiment on 15 healthy young men, which were allowed to sleep 8 hours per day for a week and were then ‘forced’ to stay awake for 29 hours. They categorized and measured their white blood cells during both periods, with the described results.
It seems, though, that further research is needed in order to draw more definitive conclusions. ‘If confirmed with more data,’ says Dr Ackermann, ‘this will have implications for clinical practice and for professions associated with long-term sleep loss, such as rotating shift work.’
Photo via Telegraf
Katrin Ackermann, Victoria L. Revell, Oscar Lao, Elwin J. Rombouts, Debra J. Skene, & Manfred Kayser (2012). Diurnal Rhythms in Blood Cell Populations and the Effect of Acute Sleep Deprivation in Healthy Young Men
SLEEP DOI: 10.5665/sleep.1954
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