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Lack of sleep, poor sleep too much sleep are all associated to inflammation according to a new meta-analysis study, published in Biological Psychiatry.
The study starts off showing the negative long term effects of sleep deprivation which are now known, do more than make us fatigued and irritable.
Turns out, it can also cause physical changes in our brains and bodies and contribute to a host of chronic diseases and mental health issues.
Researchers examined scientific literature on the link between lack of sleep and inflammation, just one of the identified side effects of sleep deprivation.
Based on a review of 72 reports, which involved more than 50,000 participants from population-based and clinical studies, they concluded that getting too little or too much sleep resulted in increased inflammation levels.
Sleep disturbances (like waking up several times throughout the night) or having insomnia were examples of poor sleep. Getting less than, or more than, 7-8 hours of sleep per night has been shown to result in increased levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.
“It is important to highlight that both too much and too little sleep appears to be associated with inflammation, a process that contributes to depression as well as many medical illnesses,” said Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, in a press release.
These markers have been linked to chronic diseases like heart problems, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes, suggesting that poor sleep is a behavioral risk factor for inflammation, in line with high fat diets or sedentary lifestyles.
Inflammation can protect the body, but in certain cases it can cause harm. Plenty of chronic diseases are associated with inflammation, including asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and even certain types of cancer.
Scientists now agree that there seems to be a clear association between poor sleep and inflammation, though more research will be needed to understand that relationship. It may have something to do with impaired immune system function, or many of the other effects of poor sleep on the body. To protect yourself from sleep deprivation, maintain a clean sleep schedule that allows you to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.