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Lack of sleep could damage your heart – Study

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Lack of sleep could damage your heart – Study

Scientists in the United States (U.S.) said people who sleep fewer than seven hours per night have lower levels of gene-regulating molecules, or microRNAs, which help dampen down inflammation in cells and support hearth health. These are the findings of a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder, published in the journal ‘Experimental Physiology’.

The findings could potentially lead to new, non-invasive tests for sleep deprived patients that are concerned about their health. The position of the US scientists corroborates the findings of numerous studies in recent years, to the effect that people who don’t get enough sleep are at greater risk of stroke and heart attack. MicroRNAs are small molecules that suppress gene expression of certain proteins in cells.

The exact function of circulating microRNAs in the cardiovascular system, and their impact on cardiovascular health is receiving a lot of scientific attention, and drugs are currently in development for a variety of diseases, including cancer, to correct impaired microRNA signatures, the ‘Science Daily’ reported. “They are like cellular brakes, so if beneficial microRNAs are lacking that can have a big impact on the health of the cell,” said Christopher DeSouza, the senior author of the study and a Professor of Integrative Physiology.

The current study found that people who sleep fewer than seven hours per night have lower blood levels of three physiological regulators, or microRNAs, which influence gene expression and play a key role in maintaining cardiovascular health. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a term used to describe all diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Coronary heart disease (which includes heart attacks and angina) and stroke are common forms of CVD. Reacting to the development, DeSouza said “this study proposes a new potential mechanism through which sleep influences heart health and overall physiology.”

The American Heart Association recommends that people should get seven to nine hours of sleep each night, but due to several factors, majority of adults don’t get adequate sleep, resulting in poor sleep, which has been shown to increase health risk generally. In another recent study, DeSouza’s group found that adult men who sleep six hours per night have dysfunctional endothelial cells — the cells that line blood vessels — and their arteries don’t dilate and constrict as well as those who get sufficient sleep. To explore the impact of insufficient sleep on circulating microRNA signatures, DeSouza and his team took blood samples from 24 healthy men and women, aged 44 to 62.

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