Link Between Sleep Deprivation and Cell Damage on These Organs

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MCW researchers find link between sleep deprivation and cell damage…

Scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) have discovered a link between sleep loss and cell injury.

Results of a new study find sleep deprivation causes the damage to cells, especially in the liver, lung, and small intestine.

Fortunately – Recovery sleep following deprivation heals the damage.


The findings are published in the December issue of Sleep, a joint publication of the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Dr. Carol Everson’s team discovered that sleep loss causes cell damage, resulting in a link between sleep and disease risk. Furthermore, recovery sleep from sleep loss was found to restore the balance and also decrease cell injury. These findings elucidate previous research indicating sleep abnormalities as risk factors for diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Dr. Everson said:

The study culminates years of work and provides physical evidence that sleep deprivation injures cells and that sleep recovery restores the balance between, among other parameters, DNA damage and repair. 

This is important because specific physical underpinnings that pose disease risk from sleep deficiency have been elusive and are now becoming identified.

The lead author is Carol Everson, Ph.D., professor of neurology, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy at MCW. Co-authors are Christopher Henchen, B.S., Clinical Research Coordinator at MCW; Aniko Szabo Ph.D., associate professor of biostatistics and director of the Biostatistics Consulting Service at MCW; and Neil Hogg, Ph.D., professor of biophysics and assistant dean of recruitment for MCW’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Image: “Sueño (9215495371)” by Juanedc from Zaragoza, España – Sueño Uploaded by juanedc. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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Helpful resources:
The Effortless Sleep Method: The Incredible New Cure for Insomnia and Chronic Sleep Problems
Melatonin – only for temporary use
Rescue Remedy Sleep
Sleep: A Closer Look at the Damaging Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Health and Wellbeing

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