Sleep Deprivation accelerates Atherosclerosis - Healthbiztips

Lack of Enough Sleep puts you at risk of Heart Disease

Don't underestimate the risks you're taking when you're not getting enough sleep. Here's why...

Disrupted sleep raises inflammation in your body.

A study published in "Nature" reveals that lack of enough sleep raises inflammatory white blood cells such as neutrophils and monocytes which subsequently accelerates atherosclerosis.

Sleep Deprivation accelerates Atherosclerosis - Healthbiztips
Sleep Deprivation accelerates Atherosclerosis - Healthbiztips

healthbiztips by Arlene Gentallan

Atherosclerosis (also known as arteriosclerosis) is the build up of plaque in the inner walls of arteries, which eventually hardens and narrows the blood vessel. In the long run, atherosclerosis can lead to fatal cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke.

The Role of Hypocretin

Research in mice unravel a pathway by which a brain-secreted hormone called "hypocretin" subdues the formation of inflammatory white blood cells.

Mice that are subjected to sleep deprivation were observed to have significantly lower levels of hypocretin. This in turn, causes an increase production of inflammatory white blood cells "monocyte", which subsequently causes the subject to develop larger arterial plaque.

In contrast, experimental mice that had enough and uninterrupted sleep had higher level of hypocretin causing lesser inflammatory cell production and reduced risk of arterial plaque build-up.

Amazingly, sleep deprived mice that received hypocretin supplement had lower levels of inflammatory cells and smaller formation of arterial plaque.
What is hypocretin? It is a hormone produced by the hypothalamus of the brain that has been found out to play an essential role in the regulation inflammatory white blood cell production. It mediates an anti-inflammatory pathway.

A sound sleep protects your heart.

Undeniably, especially to the working class, one of the best feelings in life is waking up from a good night's sleep. Now, besides your insurance, a good night sleep is arguably one of the best free investment you can take to save yourself from the demise of a fatal cardiovascular disease. Think about it.


The study was not on mice. Further research is still needed to fully appreciate and explore it's impact to human health.


McAlpine CS., et al. (2019). Sleep modulates haematopoiesis and protects against atherosclerosis. Nature. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-0948-2

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