Science and Tech


Daytime Sleeping Could Throw Genes Out Of Whack

A new study suggests working overnight can have serious effects on your gene activity.
Posted at 1:27 PM, Jan 21, 2014

Considering taking that dreaded overnight shift at work? Be careful, it could actually end up hurting your genes. 

"Working the overnight shift can seriously impact your health. They say the overnight work affects your natural body clock, and that negatively affects everything." (Via News 12 Long Island)

Researchers from the Surrey Sleep Research Centre in England disrupted the sleep patterns of 22 test subjects by letting them sleep at night the first day of the study and then forcing them to sleep from noon until 6:30 p.m. on the second and third days of the study. 

After taking blood samples all three days, the doctors found the timing of gene activity in the body to be extremely impaired.


So what does that mean for you and me?

Well, according, to Health Day"Genes carry the instructions for making proteins. Proteins make up just about every kind of chemical signal, hormone and tissue in the body. ... The timing of when proteins are made is important because their production should correspond to our behaviors."

The BBC adds this genetic timing can alter "everything from hormones and body temperature to athletic ability, mood and brain function."

Doctors say they were most surprised by how quickly the gene activity was disrupted and say this is why one day of flying or sleeping off-schedule can not only put you in a bad mood, but also affect you physically. 

This study is one of many that have delved into the powerful health effects sleep — or the lack thereof — can have on human health. According to The Telegraph, previous studies have concluded disrupting regular sleep patterns can raise the risk of heart attacks and stroke by 40 percent.

However, researchers were quick to point out their study was done over the course of three days and did not tie the disruption in sleep patterns to long-term health problems.