December 27, 2020

One of this year’s biggest breakthroughs in biology, “why sleep deprivation kills.” Sleep deprivation increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). This can happen to the degree that it can actually oxidize the life form to the point of death. Acutely or chronically, sleep deprivation or working a night shift speeds-up the level of mitochondrial oxidation – imagine speeding-up how fast a nail rusts. This oxidation leads to cancer; neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; diabetes, autoimmune diseases; susceptibility to viral infections; and premature death. The simple solution is to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and go to bed by 10:00 pm.

“The results suggest that one very fundamental job of sleep — perhaps underlying a network of other effects — is to regulate the ancient biochemical process of oxidation, by which individual electrons are snapped on and off molecules in service to everything from respiration to metabolism. Sleep, the researchers imply, is not solely the province of neuroscience, but something more deeply threaded into the biochemistry that knits together the animal kingdom.” Why Sleep Deprivation Kills, by Veronique Greenwood, Contributing Writer for Quanta Magazine