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Altered Sleep Cycles Have Profound Effects on Human Body

Altered sleep cycles are never easy to endure, and now it has been proven that they are also not good for us either. Disrupted sleep cycles often associated with jet lag and shift work have profound effects on the human body, according to a new study, which found that genes expressed themselves differently when subjects sleep cycles were altered.

altered sleep cycles

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Researchers at the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Surrey in the U.K. found that study subjects who were put on a 28-hour sleep cycle expressed far fewer genes than when they were on their normal 24-hour cycle per CTV News.22 volunteers had their sleep patterns extended by four hours each day so that by the need of three days they were sleeping during the day, for the study. Regular blood tests revealed “a massive impact” on gene expression over the days the subjects’ sleep cycles were extended to 28 hours, study co-author Simon Archer said in a statement.

As the study progressed, researchers found that nearly 6.5 percent of the subjects’ genes followed a 24-hour circadian expression, a finding consistent with other research. But after the three 28-hour days, only one percent of the subjects’ genes remained on the 24-hour rhythm.

“That’s quite a reduction,” Derk-Jan Dijk, a sleep physiologist at Surrey, said in a statement.

Per Dijik, a number of the body’s normal rhythms “have a reduced amplitude in general when you’re not sleeping at the right time of day.”

The researchers discovered that genes that normally express themselves during the day and those that normally express themselves at night were affected during the study.

What is still unclear, according to Dijik, is how exactly the changes in sleep timing lead to changes in gene expression. A key limitation to the study is whether it would have yielded the same results if the researchers had changed the subjects’ sleep cycles over a different time frame.

Having an altered sleep cycles may be necessary for certain jobs, but it is important to pay attention to your health as well.

About Chelsea Alves

  • struct

    I didn’t learn anything from this article…

  • Michael A. Schultz

    After the writer finishes 3rd grade, she should give journalism another shot.

    • Mprice

      Waiting for you to learn some manners I could earn a dozen graduate degrees.

      • Michael A. Schultz

        Only 11 more to go, as you’ve clearly already achieved Ph.D level mastery in Non-Sequitur Construction

        • Mprice

          I’m really waiting for you to stop putting your foot in your mouth and come up with cogent criticism. But, like I said, I could get another 11 graduate degrees waiting for that to happen. People like you are never half as smart as you think you are.

  • Emma Makhno

    i think the writer of this article has bad sleep

  • SpewHole

    I’ll keep this article in mind the next time I visit a world where the sun takes 28-hours to revolve around the Earth. Other than that, this study has no practical application to the real world.

    • Tony R.

      It has a very practical application for people who work on rotating shifts throughout the year — day shift, night shift, graveyard shift. They live in a constant state of “jet lag”. Be glad you don’t have such a job.

      • SpewHole

        I’ve worked all three shifts at one time or another. You don’t get “jet lag” from working alternate schedules. You get sleep deprivation from depriving your body of the appropriate amount of sleep. It is entirely possible to thrive with a 2nd or 3rd shift schedule, granted your are allowing yourself enough sleep.

        The problem with this study is that it forced the subjects to deprive themselves of sleep and then tried to claim the findings were relevant to people who don’t deprive themselves of sleep, but are still effected with a delayed sleep schedule. And it implies that those of us that don’t embrace the 9-5 lifestyle are somehow genetic deviants.

        • Tony R.

          Genetic deviants? I think you missed the entire point of the story.

          • SpewHole

            Yes, genetic deviancy is implied by the “massive impact on gene expression,” which is then wrongly and stereotypically ascribed to [late] “shift work,” and *not* to sleep deprivation.

            Increasing your circadian rhythm by 4-hours-per-day for 3 consecutive days is atypical of altered sleep schedules and of shift work. You would have to work a very specific (and unrealistic) shift pattern in order for these results to be relevant: 20 hours of wakefulness followed by 8 hours of sleep, repeated for 3 or more days, regardless of when the sun rises/sets.

            I think *you* missed the point when you presumed I could not identify with shift work and delayed sleep-phases; and when you assumed this story was relevant to the average shift-worker.

  • JackNelsonSteward

    Anyone who’s ever worked “third shift” could’ve told you this.

    Why you think it’s called “The Graveyard?”

  • StandAndDe1iver

    What is the ramification of having a reduced amplitude of the body’s rythms.


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