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Avoid Harm to Heart and Lung Function by Getting More Sleep

Sleep is a necessary part of life. When you become sleep deprived, you do more damage to your body than they realize. Research has proven that there is a link between sleep deprivation and metabolic disorders, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases. Find out how getting more sleep could protect your heart and lungs.
Sleep studies are a very common research topic these days. Scientists are always looking for answers to questions about how sleep affects people, the different cycles of sleep, the body’s ability to heal its self while sleeping, and more. A U.K. research team, led by Keith Pugh, conducted a study and found a definite link between sleep deprivation and three prominent diseases:  metabolic disorders, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Negative Health Effects

At the University of Birmingham, the investigators tested the effects of partial sleep deprivation on blood vessels and breathing control. What they found was that if a person reduces sleep, consecutively for two nights, it leads to negative effects, less healthy vascular function, and impaired breathing control. This implication of this is clear:  poor heart and lung health.

Eight healthy adults between the ages of 20 to 35 participated in the study. For the first two nights, the researchers had the volunteers sleep eight hours (the normal amount suggested.) Then, the researchers had them sleep only four hours during the next three consecutive nights. Each of the eight volunteers underwent tests to see how well their blood vessels accommodated an increase in blood flow, a test of healthy blood vessel function.

Following the first two nights of reduced sleep, the researchers found a significant reduction in vascular function compared to the nights of eight hours of sleep. However, after the third night of sleep restriction, vascular function returned to their normal baseline, possibly due to an adaptive response to acute sleep loss. In the next test, the researchers had the eight volunteers sleep 10 hours a night for five nights in a row. Then, the researchers performed the same tests, and the results showed that vascular function and breathing control had improved.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

The U.K. investigators concluded that acute sleep loss, occurring over a long period of time, compromises vascular health, and eventually, cardiovascular disease develops. Additionally, the loss of breathing control observed could play a role in the development of sleep apnea, a condition linked with heart problems. So, do your heart and lungs a favor and get a good night’s rest.


American Physiological Society (APS) (2013, April 22). Cutting back on sleep harms blood vessel function and breathing control. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from­ /releases/2013/04/130422102026.htm

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