Lack of sleep is causing havoc on your cholesterol levels

It’s a shocking statistic but 90 per cent of Australians has or do suffer from a sleep disorder of some kind every night, with the older generation being more affected.

According to myVMC, there are over 70 different defined sleep disorders which result in reduced sleep quantity or reduced sleep quality, with the most common and severe sleeping disorders being obstructive sleep apnoea, narcolepsy and insomnia.

But it’s not just a lack of sleep and feeling overwhelming tired that affects your day-to-day life, it’s the strain a sleep disorder puts on your heart.

New research has shown just how important it is to get a full night’s sleep – sleep loss leads to changes in genes that are responsible for regulating cholesterol levels.

While previous studies have suggested that lack of sleep may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, this new study may help explain why.

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Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study found those who experience sleep deprivation may have fewer high-density lipoproteins (HDL) – known as the “good” cholesterol – than those who sleep adequately.

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

The more LDL cholesterol in your blood, the higher your risk of atherosclerosis – a build-up of plaque in the arteries that can increase the risk for heart attack and stroke.

The researchers studied 21 participants in a laboratory-controlled condition for 5 nights. 14 participants had their sleep reduced to 4 hours a night, while 7 participants slept the full 8 hours.

Blood samples were taken from all subjects and were examined for LDL and HDL cholesterol. The results were stark: compared with participants who had sufficient sleep, those who experienced sleep loss had reduced activity in genes that are responsible for regulating cholesterol levels.

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

Medical News Today reports 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”.

Tell us, how many hours of sleep do you have every night?