Short sleeper, here’s what’s waiting for you

We envy them for needing so little sleep while they are hooked for so long. Surrendering only her four to five hours a night in Morpheus’ arms, these little sleepers have plenty of time to enjoy life. But are they really immune to all these evils caused by lack of sleep?

Very few people are true short sleepers, the genes that allow them to fully recover from just a few hours of sleep. Her Andrée-Ann Baril, a postdoctoral fellow studying sleep neurology and epidemiology at the Douglas Research Center and McGill University, said:

Studies have shown that some people who perform very well on four to five hours of sleep each night have mutations in specific genes involved in regulating sleep. One of these mutations confirmed in the family was transplanted into mice. However, “these genetically modified mice tended to sleep less and the cerebral centers involved in wakefulness were more activated. So this may explain why some people sleep less and are more resistant to sleep deprivation.” I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s more powerful,” said Nadia Gosselin, scientific director of the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine.

“People who are genetically predisposed to be light sleepers may sleep more efficiently and therefore need less sleep. There is no,’ said M.myself Barrel.

“But the majority of short sleepers don’t. For example, they often have very little sleep because of their work habits. Even if they don’t feel it’s affecting their functioning, they still take cognitive tests.” If you do, you’ll see performance degradation, but they think they’re right because they’re used to operating like this, but it’s because they’re doing their best and It does not mean that there is no risk of contracting a particular disease,” the researchers warn.

Danger of sleep deprivation

We know that most of the risks appear when you average less than 6 hours of sleep per night. But it’s unclear whether this risk starts to materialize from years of sleep deprivation, she notes.

In fact, numerous studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk of suffering from a variety of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, and dementia, including Alzheimer’s. How do we predispose to these diseases?

Sleep is known to be involved in hormonal regulation. Lack of sleep decreases leptin, the satiety hormone, and increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone. People who are victims of such hormonal imbalances get hungry during the day and crave foods with more calories. All of these are factors that contribute to the development of obesity.

“If you want to lose weight, it’s important to sleep well, because not sleeping makes it harder to achieve.”myself Gosselin.

Studies have also shown that people who are sleep deprived or have insomnia have insulin resistance.”However, this insulin resistance is an early stage of type 2 diabetes and may be a result of obesity.” Yes,” emphasizes M.myself Barrel.

Studies have also found that inflammation levels are slightly higher than normal in people with certain sleep disorders. “Reduced sleep impairs optimal regulation of the immune system and activates inflammation. However, vascular inflammation causes atherosclerosis, promotes the development of hypertension, and contributes to coronary heart disease. It’s a factor,” explains the scientist.

In addition, blood pressure naturally decreases during sleep, especially during the deep sleep stages. “However, people who don’t get enough sleep or who get fragmented sleep don’t see this drop in blood pressure. And the fact that blood pressure stays high 24 hours a day doesn’t help. Blood levels “make you more susceptible to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease,” she says.myself Barrel.

Sleep deprivation can also disrupt the regulation of the autonomic nervous system, which can lead to a state of hyperactivation, leading to elevated blood pressure that is likely to induce damage to blood vessels and, consequently, heart disease. high blood pressure with effects on the body, she says.

stress and emotions

Sleep also allows us to better manage our emotions. It regulates communication between the amygdala, the emotion management center in the brain, and the prefrontal cortex, which is particularly involved in executive function and has an inhibitory effect on the amygdala.

According to neuroimaging studies, “If you don’t get enough sleep, inhibition by the prefrontal cortex is less effective, allowing your amygdala to speak a little more freely, making your emotional state less regulated and irritable.” It can make you more prone to depression,” explains André Anne Barril.

A short night’s sleep can also impair regulation of the axis that connects the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and large adrenal glands, a regulation that intervenes in the management of stress and its hormone cortisol. are activated, which can induce wakefulness and stress that can lead to depression, the researchers add.

Alzheimer’s question

Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the possible role of sleep deprivation in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

The first relates to the important role of sleep in memory consolidation.

According to the second, pro-inflammatory conditions caused by sleep deprivation may contribute to “the neuroinflammation seen in Alzheimer’s disease,” Mr.myself Barrel.

The third stems from the discovery of increased cleansing activity in the brain by the lymphatic system during sleep. Because this cleansing specifically eliminates tau and beta-amyloid proteins whose accumulation causes Alzheimer’s disease, sleep deprivation is thought to limit the elimination of these toxic metabolic wastes, which accumulate and damage the brain. I’m here.

“The optimal amount of sleep to stay healthy is about seven hours per night for most adults,” recalls M.myself Gosselin.

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