Lack of sleep affects over 700 genes in human body – Physician

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Dr Moyosore Makinde, a Consultant Family and Lifestyle Medicine Physician, says
over 700 genes in the human body can be affected when an individual fails to sleep when due.

The consultant made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Tuesday, in commemoration of
the 2024 World Sleep Day (WSD).

NAN reports that WSD is celebrated annually on March 15 to raise awareness about the significance of sleep and the ills of sleep deprivation.

The 2024 World Sleep Day has “Sleep Equity for Global Health” as its theme.

Markinde, also the President, Society of Lifestyle Medicine of Nigeria (SOLON), therefore, told NAN that sleep deprivation could have social,
economic and health implications.

Also a member of the World Sleep Society, Markinde said that “sleep deprivation is usually caused by intentional human behaviour such
as watching TV, viewing social media on phones, night shifts, night study, night travel and even night vigils.

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“All these activities can disrupt the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s biological clock.

“Sleep helps to control the secretions from various body tissues and organs such as the growth hormone, the stress hormone and the hunger hormones.

“It also plays important roles in respiration, blood pressure and immunity.

“Sleep is so important that if an individual fails to observe when due, over 700 genes in the body can be affected.”

The physician said that sleep deprivation could also increase the risk of contracting some Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD), adding that “it is the cause of
a great number of accidents on Nigerian roads too.

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“And aside causing fatal vehicular accidents and judgmental errors at work, sleep insufficiency or deprivation can increase the risk of heart disease,
type 2 diabetes and some cancers, especially breast and prostate cancers.

“Some people also have certain sleep disorders which can affect their ability to sleep and they will need to be evaluated by a sleep physician.”

Markinde explained that the normal duration expected of an individual to sleep varies, based on the age of the individual.

She said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended at least seven to eight hours of restorative sleep for adults above 18 years,
adding that infants and children require more hours of sleep compared to adults.

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She, therefore, advised that people should make out time for sleep, rest and relax for optimal health.

“Infants require up to 16 hours of sleep, while pre-school and schoolage children need up to 13 hours and 12 hours of sleep respectively.
This is important for the development of their brains.

“Sleep is as important as the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breath.

“It is a natural state of rest and a period dedicated to help the body repair itself physiologically and naturally.

“Amid the hustle and bustle of work, study, business and pleasure-seeking activities, Nigerians need to prioritise sleep. In so doing,
we will be prioritising our health,” Markinde said.

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