Sleep is extremely important for the body. It plays an important role on the body weight and metabolism, mood, cardiovascular health, and disease .

The frightening side effects of sleep deprivation are only compounded by the fact that millions of the Americans are sleep deprived. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), 40 million Americans suffer from some type of sleeping disorder, with 60% of adults saying that they do have sleep problems a few nights a week, if not more.

A recently concluded research study findings published in the journal Immunity  will sure have people taking their sleep a whole lot more seriously than they have before.

Now we’ve all heard about our circadian rhythm and we’re aware that our body functions on a 24 hour cycle. While it’s been proven that this rhythm and how we follow it does affect things like our metabolism and memory, researchers at the Yale School of Medicine in the United States have now been able to prove that sleep – or lack thereof – can influence our vulnerability to disease.

Lab mice were used to conduct the study. Dr Erol Fikrig, a professor of epidemiology and microbial pathogenesis at Yale, along with his colleagues, found that the circadian clock in mice was controlled by the “Toll-like receptor 9” (or TLR-9). This gene is incredibly important for our immune system as it reacts any presence of DNA from harmful bacteria and viruses.

What was discovered was that the mice had the strongest response to vaccinations, and the highest ability to resist any infection, when their expression levels of TLR-9 were also at their highest point. And in order for the TLR-9 to be at its highest point, the mice needed to have a decent amount of sleep.

This has raised a lot of questions about how sleep deprivation and sleep problems may affect human health. One observation that researchers find to be significant is the fact that septic human patients are most likely to die between 2 and 6am, possibly when their sleep is disturbed.

Sleeping patterns of patients in intensive care are often disrupted because of the noise and prolonged exposure to artificial light. It will be important to investigate how these actors influence immune system response”, say the researchers.

The study has opened a whole new dimension with establishing a direct molecular link between the body clock and immunity. It is more like opening a pathway to explore all new therapies that could help treat and even cure disease.

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Filed under: Cardiovascular DiseaseHeart ProblemsMetabolic SyndromeObstructive Sleep ApneaOther DisordersSleepSleep Apnea NewsSleep DeprivationSleep Disordered BreathingSleep DisordersSleep Problems

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