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Sleep Loss Alters Genes While Raising Risk of Disease

Just a week of inadequate sleep can alter the activity of hundreds of genes, which may help scientists explain how wakeful nights can lead to ailments such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

Blood samples taken from patients revealed genetic changes that, with further research, may help answer why sleepless nights are so harmful to health, according to the study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While not all of the altered genes have known functions, some are involved in metabolism and stress response.