The average Briton gets the minimum of seven hours of sleep each night and nearly beats every country for the average duration. While it’s impressive that Britain is one of the most well-rested nations, many of us will still not get the recommended seven to nine hours recommended.
Some of sleep deprivations’ medical issues are widely known: obesity, psychological issues, chronic diseases to weakened immune system. But one you may not know is that insufficient sleep may a factor for bone loss.
A recent study by the Christine Swanson, assistant professor at the University of Colorado, found that healthy men who sleep for no more than 5.6 hours per 24-hours over a period of three weeks had reduced levels of P1NP compared to the beginning of the study. P1PN is a marker for bone formation and formed by osteoblasts (a bone cell that produces and deposits bone material – mostly collagen).
The study had two age groups: men aged between 20-27 and 55-65. It found that the younger of the group had less P1NP than the older group – 27% compared to 17%.
Despite the reduced marker of bone formation, the biological marker of bone resorption (absorption of old bone into the blood stream) or breakdown remained unchanged. This means that old bone can break down without any new bone replacing it – lowering bone mineral density and increase the risk of osteoporosis.
The results also show important information about bone health in younger years. Bone growth and accrual are important for long-term BMD and general health in early life – helping offset osteoporosis in later life.
The study does have limitations. The study was exclusively male and another study is needed to confirm whether the same results will appear in women.
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