According to the research performed by Swedish team of scientists it was revealed that genes that control the biological clocks in cells throughout the body are altered after losing just a single night of sleep.
“Previous research has shown that our metabolism is negatively affected by sleep loss, and sleep loss has been linked to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes,” said Jonathan Cedernaes, a researcher at Uppsala University.
For the study the researchers studied 15 healthy normal-weight men who are allowed to stay in lab for almost 2 night long stays. At random, the guys were allowed to sleep for one night of their stay and kept awake for the other. The men were also kept in bed, with things like their food intake and light strictly regulated.
Blood samples were also taken before and after the participants had consumed a sugar solution to test their insulin sensitivity. The researchers analysed that just the single night's disrupted sleep had affected their clock genes.
“As far as we know, we are the first to directly show that epigenetic changes can occur after sleep loss in humans, but also in these important tissues,” said Cedernaes.
"This could mean that at least some types of sleep loss or extended wakefulness, as in shift work, could lead to changes in the genome of your tissues that can affect your metabolism for longer periods."
The study is due to be published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.