Sleep Deprivation Could Increase Biological Aging, Study Shows, Which Is Totally An Excuse To Hit The Snooze Button

A woman sleeps at Gatwick Airport in southern England on December 7, 2013. A 'technical problem' in Britain's air traffic control systems caused widespread flight delays and cancellations across the country's airspace. AFP PHOTO/CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

Have you missed one too many Sunday brunch dates by hitting the snooze button for three hours in a row? Thanks to recent research, you can now tell your friends that you were just getting your literal beauty sleep, a study has found that even just one night of sleep deprivation could increase biological aging. Admittedly, your friends probably won't care about your beauty sleep, but it's worth a shot, right?

Researchers at the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology looked at the blood samples of 29 participants between the ages of 61 and 85 after four nights of sleep, Science Daily reports. First was adaptation, in which the participants were allowed to acclimate to the sleep lab, then a full night's rest. During the third night, volunteers were subject to partial sleep deprivation, meaning that they were allowed to sleep a few hours, but they were kept awake from 3 AM to 7 AM. Lastly, participants were allowed to sleep a full night again.

The researchers didn't just decide to deprive some poor elderly people of sleep for funsies. They analyzed the participants' blood samples for patterns in the gene expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, which are a critical part of the immune system, and the results showed that sleep deprivation doesn't just make us cranky.

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According to Science Daily, researchers found patterns consistent with the deterioration of the cell cycle in the blood of participants after they were partially sleep-deprived. "Our data support the hypothesis that one night of not getting enough sleep in older adults activates important biological pathways that promote biological aging," Judith Carroll, Ph.D., told Science Daily.

This is far from the only study suggesting that sleep deprivation takes a toll on the body. Previous research has shown that sleep loss can impede decision making, attention span, and potentially lead to an increased risk for obesity. In contrast, being well-rested can improve everything from your sex life to your memory.

So there you have it. Unless you're looking forward to this being your future:

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You should totally hit that snooze button to your heart's content. Well, maybe don't take that literally — the snooze button is actually bad for your sleep cycle, but your Sunday brunch friends don't need to know that, do they?

Images: yzmas/Rebloggy

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