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A lack of sleep influences our genetic behavior, survey reveals

A lack of sleep influences our genetic behavior, survey reveals. Too much and too little sleep has been linked to impaired decision making, poor memory, and an increased risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders. 

Despite the immense health risks associated with chronic sleep deprivation, more and more people sleep less than what is recommended each night. 

A new survey conducted by researchers from Evalina London found that of 2,000 British adults, 17 percent slept for eight hours, and while too little sleep can increase the risk or heart disease and weight gain, it also influences our DNA. 

Sleep deprivation doesn’t change or mutate our genes, but it can impact how our genes operate, according to the research which was funded by Simba, a sleep tech company, to help promote the new #TryFor8 campaign

The survey results also showed that 44 percent of the participants slept for 6 hours each night while health officials generally recommend that people get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. 

“Those people who sleep under six hours have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, their blood pressure is higher, and their cholesterol is worse,” Paul Gringras, a professor at Evalina London said in a statement. “Our lack of sleep as a nation has been compared to ‘the canary in the coalmine,’ in that poor sleep is linked to so many other serious health issues.” A lack of sleep influences our genetic behavior, survey reveals

Past studies have found that too little sleep can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and according to Gringras sleep deprivation can lead to a 60 percent increased risk of high blood pressure. 

As far as how sleep influences DNA, Gringras is careful to point out that it doesn’t change DNA but can impact the signals that control the daily operations of our genes.  

“Just one night’s bad sleep changes epigenetic signals to our DNA that cause weight gain and loss of muscle mass, and can affect the way that memories are laid down in the hippocampus – part of our brains,” Gringas clarifies. 

As part of the #TryFor8 campaign, Simba has launched the Simba Sleep App. 

By partnering with top rugby athletes like Maro Itoje and Jamie Roberts, the Simba Sleep App is meant to help coach people to get better sleep and monitor your sleep cycles. 

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer 

Image Credit: Shutterstock/ruigsantos

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