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Concept: Sleep deprivation


Surgical training has always been hard on residents. During my own residency more than 20 years ago, 100-hour workweeks and in-house call every other night were routine. A resident’s life outside the hospital was simply not a priority. Residency may be even harder on patients. A large body of research has linked sleep deprivation in resident physicians to poor performance in neurobehavioral testing and, more alarmingly, to higher rates of attention failure in patient care.(1),(2) Reacting to concerns about both resident well-being and patient safety, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) implemented duty-hour reforms in 2003 that . . .

Concepts: Medicine, Patient, Hospital, Sleep deprivation, Physician, Medical school, Hospital accreditation, Medical education


Background:Short sleep and weight gain are inversely related. Sleep deprivation acutely increases food intake but little is known about eating behavior in chronically sleep-deprived, obese individuals.Objective:To characterize the relationship between sleep, food intake and alcohol consumption under free-living conditions in obese, chronically sleep-deprived individuals.Design:Cross-sectional study of a cohort of obese men and premenopausal women.Subjects:A total of 118 obese subjects (age: 40.3±6.7 years; 91 females/27 males; body mass index 38.7±6.4 kg m(-2)).Measurements:Energy, macronutrient, alcohol and caffeine intake assessed by 3-day food records. Sleep duration estimated by actigraphy. Respiratory disturbance index assessed by a portable device.Results:Subjects slept 360.7±50.2 min per night and had a total energy intake of 2279.1±689 kcal per day. Sleep duration and energy intake were inversely related (r=-0.230, P=0.015). By extrapolation, each 30-min deficit per day in sleep duration would translate to an ∼83 kcal per day increase in energy intake. In addition, sleep apnea was associated with a shift from carbohydrate to fat intake. Alcohol intake in subjects consuming >3.5 g of alcohol per day (N=41) was inversely related to sleep duration (r=-0.472, P=0.002).Conclusions:Shorter sleep duration and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with higher energy, fat and alcohol intakes in obese individuals. The importance of this study relies on the population studied, obese subjects with chronic sleep deprivation. These novel findings apply to the large segment of the US population who are obese and sleep-deprived.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Body mass index, Sleep apnea, Obstructive sleep apnea


Insufficient sleep and circadian rhythm disruption are associated with negative health outcomes, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive impairment, but the mechanisms involved remain largely unexplored. Twenty-six participants were exposed to 1 wk of insufficient sleep (sleep-restriction condition 5.70 h, SEM = 0.03 sleep per 24 h) and 1 wk of sufficient sleep (control condition 8.50 h sleep, SEM = 0.11). Immediately following each condition, 10 whole-blood RNA samples were collected from each participant, while controlling for the effects of light, activity, and food, during a period of total sleep deprivation. Transcriptome analysis revealed that 711 genes were up- or down-regulated by insufficient sleep. Insufficient sleep also reduced the number of genes with a circadian expression profile from 1,855 to 1,481, reduced the circadian amplitude of these genes, and led to an increase in the number of genes that responded to subsequent total sleep deprivation from 122 to 856. Genes affected by insufficient sleep were associated with circadian rhythms (PER1, PER2, PER3, CRY2, CLOCK, NR1D1, NR1D2, RORA, DEC1, CSNK1E), sleep homeostasis (IL6, STAT3, KCNV2, CAMK2D), oxidative stress (PRDX2, PRDX5), and metabolism (SLC2A3, SLC2A5, GHRL, ABCA1). Biological processes affected included chromatin modification, gene-expression regulation, macromolecular metabolism, and inflammatory, immune and stress responses. Thus, insufficient sleep affects the human blood transcriptome, disrupts its circadian regulation, and intensifies the effects of acute total sleep deprivation. The identified biological processes may be involved with the negative effects of sleep loss on health, and highlight the interrelatedness of sleep homeostasis, circadian rhythmicity, and metabolism.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Organism, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Sleep disorder, Circadian rhythm, Chronotype


Chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic neck pain (CNP) have become a serious medical and socioeconomic problem in recent decades. Patients suffering from chronic pain seem to have a higher prevalence of sleep disorders.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, Sleep deprivation, Pain, Chronic pain


We often experience troubled sleep in a novel environment [1]. This is called the first-night effect (FNE) in human sleep research and has been regarded as a typical sleep disturbance [2-4]. Here, we show that the FNE is a manifestation of one hemisphere being more vigilant than the other as a night watch to monitor unfamiliar surroundings during sleep [5, 6]. Using advanced neuroimaging techniques [7, 8] as well as polysomnography, we found that the temporary sleep disturbance in the first sleep experimental session involves regional interhemispheric asymmetry of sleep depth [9]. The interhemispheric asymmetry of sleep depth associated with the FNE was found in the default-mode network (DMN) involved with spontaneous internal thoughts during wakeful rest [10, 11]. The degree of asymmetry was significantly correlated with the sleep-onset latency, which reflects the degree of difficulty of falling asleep and is a critical measure for the FNE. Furthermore, the hemisphere with reduced sleep depth showed enhanced evoked brain response to deviant external stimuli. Deviant external stimuli detected by the less-sleeping hemisphere caused more arousals and faster behavioral responses than those detected by the other hemisphere. None of these asymmetries were evident during subsequent sleep sessions. These lines of evidence are in accord with the hypothesis that troubled sleep in an unfamiliar environment is an act for survival over an unfamiliar and potentially dangerous environment by keeping one hemisphere partially more vigilant than the other hemisphere as a night watch, which wakes the sleeper up when unfamiliar external signals are detected.

Concepts: Neuroimaging, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Sleep disorder, Sleep apnea, Polysomnography, Sleep medicine, Medial longitudinal fissure


Modern lifestyle has profoundly modified human sleep habits. Sleep duration has shortened over recent decades from 8 to 6.5 hours resulting in chronic sleep deprivation. Additionally, irregular sleep, shift work and travelling across time zones lead to disruption of circadian rhythms and asynchrony between the master hypothalamic clock and pacemakers in peripheral tissues. Furthermore, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSA), which affects 4 - 15% of the population, is not only characterized by impaired sleep architecture but also by repetitive hemoglobin desaturations during sleep. Epidemiological studies have identified impaired sleep as an independent risk factor for all cause of-, as well as for cardiovascular, mortality/morbidity. More recently, sleep abnormalities were causally linked to impairments in glucose homeostasis, metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM). This review summarized current knowledge on the metabolic alterations associated with the most prevalent sleep disturbances, i.e. short sleep duration, shift work and OSA. We have focused on various endocrine and molecular mechanisms underlying the associations between inadequate sleep quality, quantity and timing with impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and pancreatic β-cell dysfunction. Of these mechanisms, the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, circadian pacemakers in peripheral tissues, adipose tissue metabolism, sympathetic nervous system activation, oxidative stress and whole-body inflammation are discussed. Additionally, the impact of intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation (key components of OSA) on intracellular signaling and metabolism in muscle, liver, fat and pancreas are also examined. In summary, this review provides endocrine and molecular explanations for the associations between common sleep disturbances and the pathogenesis of T2DM.

Concepts: Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Sleep disorder, Sleep apnea, Obstructive sleep apnea


Brief periods of sleep loss have long-lasting consequences such as impaired memory consolidation. Structural changes in synaptic connectivity have been proposed as a substrate of memory storage. Here, we examine the impact of brief periods of sleep deprivation on dendritic structure. In mice, we find that five hours of sleep deprivation decreases dendritic spine numbers selectively in hippocampal area CA1 and increased activity of the filamentous actin severing protein cofilin. Recovery sleep normalizes these structural alterations. Suppression of cofilin function prevents spine loss, deficits in hippocampal synaptic plasticity, and impairments in long-term memory caused by sleep deprivation. The elevated cofilin activity is caused by cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterase-4A5 (PDE4A5), which hampers cAMP-PKA-LIMK signaling. Attenuating PDE4A5 function prevents changes in cAMP-PKA-LIMK-cofilin signaling and cognitive deficits associated with sleep deprivation. Our work demonstrates the necessity of an intact cAMP-PDE4-PKA-LIMK-cofilin activation-signaling pathway for sleep deprivation-induced memory disruption and reduction in hippocampal spine density.

Concepts: Amygdala, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Memory, Hippocampus, Dendrite, Long-term potentiation, Dendritic spine


Sleep loss and insufficient sleep are risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases, but data on how insufficient sleep contributes to these diseases are scarce. These questions were addressed using two approaches: an experimental, partial sleep restriction study (14 cases and 7 control subjects) with objective verification of sleep amount, and two independent epidemiological cohorts (altogether 2739 individuals) with questions of sleep insufficiency. In both approaches, blood transcriptome and serum metabolome were analysed. Sleep loss decreased the expression of genes encoding cholesterol transporters and increased expression in pathways involved in inflammatory responses in both paradigms. Metabolomic analyses revealed lower circulating large HDL in the population cohorts among subjects reporting insufficient sleep, while circulating LDL decreased in the experimental sleep restriction study. These findings suggest that prolonged sleep deprivation modifies inflammatory and cholesterol pathways at the level of gene expression and serum lipoproteins, inducing changes toward potentially higher risk for cardiometabolic diseases.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Cancer, Transcription, Molecular biology, Organism, Sleep deprivation


Many studies have investigated factors that affect susceptibility to false memories. However, few have investigated the role of sleep deprivation in the formation of false memories, despite overwhelming evidence that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive function. We examined the relationship between self-reported sleep duration and false memories and the effect of 24 hr of total sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories. We found that under certain conditions, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing false memories. Specifically, sleep deprivation increased false memories in a misinformation task when participants were sleep deprived during event encoding, but did not have a significant effect when the deprivation occurred after event encoding. These experiments are the first to investigate the effect of sleep deprivation on susceptibility to false memories, which can have dire consequences.

Concepts: Psychology, Cognitive psychology, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Cognition, Memory, Sleep medicine


Sleep deprivation is common in critically ill patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Noise and light in the ICU and the reduction in plasma melatonin play the essential roles. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of simulated ICU noise and light on nocturnal sleep quality, and compare the effectiveness of melatonin and earplugs and eye masks on sleep quality in these conditions in healthy subjects.

Concepts: Health care, Effect, Effectiveness, Intensive care medicine, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Circadian rhythm, The Essential