Sleep Deprivation May Lower ‘Good’ Cholesterol

Sleep Deprivation May Lower ‘Good’ CholesterolSleep Deprivation May Lower ‘Good’ Cholesterol

Previous studies have suggested that lack of sleep may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, and a new study may help explain why; researchers found that sleep deprivation may have a negative impact on cholesterol levels.

Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study found that sleep loss leads to changes in genes that are responsible for regulating cholesterol levels.

What is more, two population cohorts reveal that people who experience sleep deprivation may have fewer high-density lipoproteins (HDL) - known as the “good” cholesterol - than those who have sufficient sleep, reported.

HDL cholesterol is responsible for removing low-density lipoproteins (LDL) - the “bad” cholesterol - from the arteries.

LDL cholesterol contributes to atherosclerosis - a build-up of plaque in the arteries that can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke - so a robust HDL cholesterol level is important for protecting heart health.

The team reached its findings by conducting experimental and epidemiological analyses.

Blood samples were taken from all subjects during the study period, which the team analyzed for gene expression and lipoprotein levels. Compared with participants who had sufficient sleep, researchers found that those who experienced sleep loss had reduced expression for genes that encode for lipoproteins - that is, there was reduced activity in genes that are responsible for regulating cholesterol levels.

The team says the findings from both analyses suggest that just a short period of sleep deprivation may have a big impact on health, and they may explain why people who fail to get enough sleep may be at greater risk for cardiovascular disease.

Study co-author Vilma Aho, from the University of Helsinki Sleep Team, says:

“The experimental study proved that just 1 week of insufficient sleep begins to change the body’s immune response and metabolism. Our next goal is to determine how minor the sleep deficiency can be while still causing such changes.