Sleep deprivation and stress have similar effects on the human body, report in the journal Sleep researchers from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Physical stress and lack of sleep shock the immune system, report MNT.
The scientists, from Erasmus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam, and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom conducted a research with 15 men.
The study showed that granulocytes (types of white blood cells) were mostly damaged from the lack of sleep. These special cells are composed of microscopic granules that contain special enzymes which are digesting microorganisms. This is why they are very important for our immune system.
But what happened with our young and healthy men from the experiment?
They were made to sleep every day for 8 hours for a whole week. When they woke up they were exposed to sunlight for more than 15 minutes. During the week they did not consume any alcohol, drugs or caffeine drinks. Their blood cells were measured before, during and after the week. The next part of the study made the young men spend 29 hours without even closing their eyes for five minutes. The granulocytes reacted immediately to the physical stress of sleep loss and directly mirrored the body’s stress response.
“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”, said the lead scientist of the study, Katrin Ackermann, PhD.
With more information, these new discoveries could help a lot for clinical practice which fights with long-term sleep loss. Other discoveries had already discovered the link between sleep deprivation and the development of certain diseases like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Sleep has been part of many studies and some of them have discovered that if we sleep enough, our immune system will be stronger and vice versa – long term sleep deprivation will weaken our immune system and can lead to many diseases.