Sleep Problems Cause Inflammation and Early Death

October 26, 2008 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Sleep Problems Cause Inflammation and Early Death
While everyone knows that a lack of sleep does not feel good, the extent of the damage if sleep problems persist is far greater than previously understood.

One study shows that a single bad night's sleep ramps up the key inflammatory gene signal1 known as NF-kappaB, your main cellular regulator of inflammation. The authors state “Physical and psychological stress brought on in part by grinding work, school and social schedules is keeping millions of Americans up at night…America's sleep habits are simply not healthy. Our findings suggest even modest sleep loss may play a role in common disorders that affect sweeping segments of the population."

Indeed, another new study shows that even mild sleep apnea2 sets in motion the inflammation that drives cardiovascular disease, with adverse circulatory tension already measurable in the beginning stages of the problem.

Yet another study shows that adults with significant sleep disturbance are three times more likely to die from any cause3, even if they are being treated. If no help is sought they are four times more likely to die of any cause and five times more likely to die from heart disease – regardless of age!

Obviously medical treatment for sleep issues is only modestly helpful, and like many medical treatments fails to actually solve the source of the problem.

These three studies taken together are significant. There is no longer any scientific doubt that excessive inflammation is a primary cause of accelerated aging, early onset of the diseases of aging (diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, etc.), and therefore early mortality. These new studies document this inflammatory issue and link it directly to early death. The information is painfully clear.

Referenced Studies

  1. ^ Sleep Loss and Inflammation  Biological Psychiatry.  Michael R. Irwin, Minge Wang, Denise Ribeiro, Hyong Jin Cho, Richard Olmstead, Elizabeth Crabb Breen, Otoniel Martinez-Maza, and Steve Cole.
  2. ^ Mild Sleep Problems Cause Circulatory Inflammation  American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine   Malcolm Kohler, Sonya Craig, Debby Nicoll, Paul Leeson, Robert J. O. Davies, and John R. Stradling
  3. ^ Sleep Problems and the Risk of Early Death  Sleep  YOUNG T, FINN L, PEPPARD PE, SZKLO-COXE M, AUSTIN D, NIETO FJ, STUBBS R, HLA KM.

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