The Biological links between Sleep Deprivation and the Immune System

A research group at the University of Helsinki has discovered new biological links between sleep loss and the immune system.The results provide at least a partial explanation of why sleep deprivation increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Population-level studies have indicated that insufficient sleep increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes. These diseases are known to be linked to inflammatory responses in the body.

The study titled “Partial Sleep Restriction Activates Immune Response-Related Gene Expression Pathways Experimental and Epidemiological Studies in Humans” was published in PLOS ONE

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Conducted at the sleep laboratory of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, the study restricted the amount of sleep of a group of healthy young men to four hours per night for five days, imitating the schedule of a normal working week. Blood samples were taken before and after the sleep deprivation test.

White blood cells were isolated from the samples, and the expression of all genes at the time of the sampling was examined using microarrays. The results were compared with samples from healthy men of comparable age who had been sleeping eight hours per night for the week.

The expression of many genes and gene pathways related to the functions of the immune system was increased during the sleep deprivation. There was an increase in activity of B cells which are responsible for producing antigens that contribute to the body’s defensive reactions, but also to allergic reactions and asthma.

The amount of certain interleukins, or signalling molecules which promote inflammation, increased, as did the amount of associated receptors. CRP level was also elevated, indicating inflammation.

Source: Sleep Team Helsinki Institute of Biomedicine

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Is Sleep Good for Everything? Scientific American Poses the Question

Once again the consumer media has embraced the notion of better sleep for better health. The latest comes via a blog piece in Scientific American which asks the provocative question: Is sleep good for everything?

With new research coming out literally every week on various aspects of good sleep, blogger Gary Stix states that “the more sleep researchers look, the more the answer seems to be tending toward a resounding affirmative.”

Stix writes that there is a growing recognition that sleep appears to be involved in regulating basic metabolic processes and even in mental health. Stix relates that sleep researcher Robert Stickgold’s work (Harvard Medical School) has tied sleep to such varying health markers as memory, schizophrenia, depression, and diabetes.

One of the clearest messages, contends Stickgold, is that for every two hours humans spend awake during the day, the brain needs an hour offline to process the information it takes in and figure out what to save and what to dump and how to file and what it all means.

Stickgold concludes with the following advice:
“If you drink two cups of coffee to get going in the morning, you don’t have enough sleep. If you sleep two hours later on weekends, you are not getting enough sleep. I think the amount varies from person to person. There isn’t an absolute amount. I tell people to turn off the alarm clock for a week and see what happens. If you discover you’re waking an hour and a half after you’re supposed to be at work, you’re probably not going to bed early enough. I still think eight hours looks like the best bet if I were to guess.”

Source: Scientific American

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Trucking Industry Reflects on Sleep Apnea Rulemaking Decision

In the rough and tumble world of modern politics, the trucking industry took solace in a number of regulatory triumphs, including a crucial legislative victory concerning sleep apnea. A bill, ultimately signed by President Obama, mandated that regulators agree to take sleep apnea requirements concerning truckers to a future rulemaking process, rather than merely issuing guidance.

According to Sean Garney, manager of safety policy at American Trucking Associations (ATA), rulemaking will require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to estimate the number of drivers who would be affected by the rule, the percentage of crashes in which sleep apnea is a factor, and the percentage that would be affected by treatment of apnea.

Trucking industry reporter Oliver Patton reported that the agency will have to look at the cost and effectiveness of testing and treatment, as well as the “discouragement factor”–the extent to which a rule would discourage drivers from coming into the industry, or staying in it. Garney said, “There’s just a lot that they’re going to have to study in order to understand the real impacts on the industry.”

ATA estimates that a sleep apnea rule will cost the industry more than $1 billion a year, which is one reason why it pushed Congress to pass the bill that Obama signed last year.

“To me, what that says to the FMCSA and other regulatory agencies is when the trucking industry stands up, stands united and speaks with one voice, we can get Congress to do what we need to make sure that our industry stays strong,” said ATA President Bill Graves in Transport Topics. “And that means overriding bad regulations.”

On the loss side of the ledger, an appeals court decision in August upheld FMCSA’s new hours-of-service rule, a move that Graves called disappointing. “Despite the ruling, Graves said he believes that recent attempts by industry stakeholders to publicly raise concerns about the HOS rule’s effect on safety and productivity are gathering steam,” wrote Eric Miller, staff writer for Transport Topics.

Source: Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy

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Less Sleep Equals Increased Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Evidence linking poor sleep to diabetes continues to mount. The latest research from the University of Newcastle shows that too little sleep is associated with a significant increase in risk of type 2 diabetes. According to a summary in diabetes.co.uk, the research process was a meta-study reviewing results from a number of different qualifying studies.

More than 200,000 adults over the age of 45 years were reviewed.Most participants (64.7%) reported normal sleep times of 7 or 8 hours. Participants that had 6 hours sleep or less experienced a 30% greater risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. The study also showed that having either significantly shorter (under 7 hours) or longer (over 10 hours) sleep times was associated with higher rates of obesity.

Researchers took the time to switch around the numbers and check for negative effects of longer sleep times. “The researchers noted with interest that whilst shorter sleep times were associated with greater type 2 diabetes risk, longer sleep times were not,” writes a reporter from diabetest.co.uk. “Also of note was that sleep duration was not related to risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The results are statistically significant (212,388 participants to be exact) and the researchers view the results as appearing to be clinically important. In terms of limitations of the study, researchers were unable to ascertain how much short sleep duration may have been related to presence of a sleep disorder.

Source: Diabetes.co.uk

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Trucking Industry Reflects on Sleep Apnea Rulemaking Decision

In the rough and tumble world of modern politics, the trucking industry took solace in a number of regulatory triumphs, including a crucial legislative victory concerning sleep apnea. A bill, ultimately signed by President Obama, mandated that regulators agree to take sleep apnea requirements concerning truckers to a future rulemaking process, rather than merely issuing guidance.
According to Sean Garney, manager of safety policy at American Trucking Associations (ATA), rulemaking will require the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to estimate the number of drivers who would be affected by the rule, the percentage of crashes in which sleep apnea is a factor, and the percentage that would be affected by treatment of apnea.
Trucking industry reporter Oliver Patton reported that the agency will have to look at the cost and effectiveness of testing and treatment, as well as the “discouragement factor”–the extent to which a rule would discourage drivers from coming into the industry, or staying in it. Garney said, “There’s just a lot that they’re going to have to study in order to understand the real impacts on the industry.”
ATA estimates that a sleep apnea rule will cost the industry more than $1 billion a year, which is one reason why it pushed Congress to pass the bill that Obama signed last year.
“To me, what that says to the FMCSA and other regulatory agencies is when the trucking industry stands up, stands united and speaks with one voice, we can get Congress to do what we need to make sure that our industry stays strong,” said ATA President Bill Graves in Transport Topics. “And that means overriding bad regulations.”
On the loss side of the ledger, an appeals court decision in August upheld FMCSA’s new hours-of-service rule, a move that Graves called disappointing. “Despite the ruling, Graves said he believes that recent attempts by industry stakeholders to publicly raise concerns about the HOS rule’s effect on safety and productivity are gathering steam,” wrote Eric Miller, staff writer for Transport Topics.

The post Trucking Industry Reflects on Sleep Apnea Rulemaking Decision appeared first on Sleep Diagnosis and Therapy.