The Dangers of Sleeping During the Day
The Dangers of Sleeping During the Day
For the millions of people that work the overnight shift at their jobs, sleeping during the day is obviously a necessity. While the rest of the world is sleeping, these men and women are working hard and when those that were sleeping are finally waking up and getting ready for their work day, the overnight workers are closing down shop for their work day. For those people that work the overnight shift, there is new study information out that says sleeping during the day can disrupt the normal rhythms of about a third of your genes, which can wreak havoc on your body.
According to this latest study, having a different sleep schedule has even been determined to have more of an impact on your genes than if you simply don’t get enough sleep. This study was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January.
The British study sought out young and healthy volunteers to compile these statistics and found 22 participants that all slept in a dimly lit lab for three days. Over the course off the three days, the researchers tested the participants’ ability to reset their sleep clocks.
The first night that the volunteers slept in the lab, researchers would disrupt their sleeping patterns in regular time intervals. They did this to reset their internal body clocks to in “innate rhythm.” The second and third nights saw the researchers adjust the eating and sleeping schedule to a 28 hour day. During these days, the longest sleeping period was for about six and half hours from noon to 6:30 p.m.
Throughout the three days, researchers drew blood from the participants so they could see what effect, if any, the changed sleeping pattern had on their genes. During the first day of the study, researchers found that close to 1,400 genes, or
about 6.4 percent of those analyzed, were in sync with the circadian rhythm created when the body reset its internal clock. On days two and three when they participants had their entire schedule extended and changed, the number of genes dropped to just 228, which is just a single percent of all being analyzed.
By examining these numbers, the researchers determined that about a third of the genes found in each person would be impacted by sleep disruptions.
There have been numerous studies held in this field over the course of the past decade and all have found the same type statistics, just with drastically more negative effects. One study in particular tested the effects on the gene with sleep deprivation. During
this study, the sleep volunteers were able to sleep just five and half hours each night. Researchers checked the number of genes affected by this change in sleeping habits and determined that
just seven percent were in tune with the internal body clock, down from nine percent.
Along with sleeping issues, there are potential problems with the most basic of functions in the body. There are some theories regarding why this is the case and many of them are centered on shift-workers being more likely to suffer from other serious health conditions including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, disrupted menstrual cycles for women and even cancer.
This study didn’t find a definite link between working the overnight shift and suffering from any of these ailments, but researchers are excited about being able to understand more about the human body and why sleep is so important to staying healthy.
This older study was able to suggest that mistimed sleeping patterns could affect the normal circadian rhythms, which in turn affects the genes.
What Do Genes Do?
Some may wonder what the genes in the human body do and how they can play an important role in your health. The answer to what genes do is simple, but important. They make proteins. Proteins are important to the human body because they are found in almost all the chemical signals, hormones and tissues in the human body.
Now, the question about why it is important for a gene to be created at a certain time of day would be asked, and the answer to this isn’t as simple. The time in which these proteins are produced should be done concurrently with our normal behaviors. One example that could make this easier to understand is when your body is expecting to get a meal. Your liver stops releasing carbohydrates that were stored in the body into the blood stream. At the same time, your pancreas has an important task as it needs to create insulin.
These two important tasks, when working together and in a synchronized order, they work efficiently and are quite effective in absorbing sugars quickly. This doesn’t allow your blood levels to get to a dangerous level. However, when these acts are not being done together, your body is out of whack. At night, while working, your body is working fully when it doesn’t need to and then during the day when you need it the most, it isn’t working right or up to the speed needed.
About the Author
Hobson Lopes is a 2012 graduate of Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Conn. He is a professional writer who will be releasing a cookbook in January 2014 called Men Cook Too. He is also the owner of The First Pitch and can be followed on Twitter.