Research, Technology

Lack of sleep in women leads to accelerated aging

About how much each person needsfull healthy sleep, everyone knows. During this physiological process, our body rests and gains strength, and the brain sorts the information received during the day. When we don’t receive it, we feel overwhelmed, our ability to work decreases, apathy and a bad mood arise. But this is only a manifestation of mild symptoms that quickly pass as soon as we get enough sleep. But what happens to the body when lack of sleep becomes chronic and lasts for a long time, for example, a year and a half? Recently, there has been an opinion that five hours of sleep is not even bad, since many famous people slept that much, for example, Napoleon, Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, as well as the living Donald Trump and Angela Merkel. In fact, this is one of the myths about sleep, four to five hours of sleep can greatly harm the body. The exception is people who have such a feature of the body that they have enough time to sleep. One piece of evidence for the detrimental effects of lack of sleep came from UCLA employees. They found that it leads to accelerated aging.

Regular lack of sleep leads to accelerated aging of the body

How to determine the biological age of a person

Scientists have done a fairly simple study -took DNA from 33 women and compared how it looked during pregnancy and after the birth of a child. First of all, they studied the terminal chromosomes, which are also commonly called telomeres, in order to determine the biological age of women by their length.

As cells age, telomeres become shorter.This is due to the fact that when a cell divides, its chromosomes also double, which allows daughter cells to receive identical copies of them. However, proteins that duplicate DNA are unable to complete the copy of the DNA strand. Accordingly, at the end of each strand there is a part that is not copied into new DNA. As a result, the copy becomes slightly shorter than the original.

Fortunately, genes are not at the end of the chromosome,that code for proteins, but useless telomeres. Otherwise, the genes would be damaged or absent altogether. That is, telomeres are needed simply so that cells can divide without causing harm to the genome.

Scientists can determine the biological age of a person by the length of telomeres

However, the length of telomeres is not infinite.They shorten up to a certain point, after which the cell is no longer able to divide. In fact, cells have their own division limit, which determines the length of telomeres. After that, they can only die.

Also, the body has a specialan enzyme called telomerase. Its task is to lengthen telomeres. However, telomerase is only able to perform its task in stem cells and some cancer cells. Accordingly, if telomeres in some cells are too short, this indicates that the body consumes cell resources faster.

It should be noted that cells that have exhausted theirdivision limit, present some danger. The fact is that they do not die immediately, but live for some time, which increases the likelihood of chronic diseases or even oncology.

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To make the results of the study more accurate, the scientists additionally assessed the epigenetics of young mothers. Epigenetics are molecular mechanisms that can change the activity of genes.

Epigenetic changes may occur inas a result of a variety of events, including even such as stress or diet. Epigenetic changes in turn affect subsequent gene activity. With age, the so-called “old age pattern” is formed on DNA, that is, epigenetics does not allow genes to work the way they did in youth. According to the “pattern of old age”, it is not difficult for scientists to determine the age not only of a cell, but of the whole organism.

Stress from lack of sleep accumulates in the body, causing the body to use up cellular resources faster

How lack of sleep affects women

Research results published in Sleephealth. The article says that for some women, the biological “clock” has gone far ahead, that is, the process of their biological aging has significantly accelerated. The reasons for this are related to sleep. It is difficult for mothers to get enough sleep when a child is born, especially when there is no one to leave it to.

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And the rate of aging is depressing.Those women who slept less than seven hours during the year became 3–7 years older than those women who slept normally. This is due to the fact that the lack of sleep leads to a disorder of biorhythms, on which literally everything in our body depends, from metabolism to brain function.

Findings from the CalifornianUniversity of Los Angeles showed that the stress of lack of sleep accumulates in the body, which leads to premature aging. The studies only looked at women, but it is highly unlikely that the situation is any different for men. Of course, rapid aging is not the only negative manifestation of lack of sleep. Scientists have found that people who lack sleep find it harder to lose weight.