The way people’s genes work is changed when their body clock is disrupted. A study has revealed that sleep deprivation does more harm to the human body than imagined. Sleep deprivation can affect our genes and damage our DNA. In the observational study on 49 healthy full-time doctors who had their blood analyzed at different time points and on-call doctors who were required to work overnight on-site were found to have lower DNA repair gene expression and more DNA breaks than participants who did not work overnight.
Damaged DNA increased after only one night of sleep deprivation. According to the researchers, this damage may help explain the increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular, metabolic diseases as well as neurodegenerative disorders that are usually associated with sleep deprivation. Although this work is very preliminary, it is clear from the results that even a single night of sleep deprivation can trigger events that may contribute to the development of chronic disease.