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Sleep Deprivation Weakens Immune System; Seven Hours Recommended For Optimal Health

Update Date: Jan 30, 2017 09:05 PM EST

There are a lot of people who spend little time in sleeping. But sleep deprivation has a lot of negative effects to our bodies, and one of these is that it weakens our immune system.

In a new study, researchers at the UW Medicine Sleep Center looked for 11 pairs of identical twins that have different sleeping patterns. They took their blood samples and studied them in a laboratory. After thorough analysis, they discovered that the twin that has a shorter sleeping pattern has a weaker immune system, as per Science Daily. Results of the research were published in the journal Sleep last Jan. 25.

What is unique about this study is that researchers employed real world conditions to examine how sleep deprivation affects white blood cells, which are essential to keep our immune system healthy. The team behind this research chose twins as subjects because studies have shown that genetics account for up to 55 percent of our sleeping patterns. The remaining percentage is caused by the environment that we live in.

With the today's faster pace, people tend to sleep less than before. Data from the Centers of Disease Control says that people living in the US are sleeping 1.5 to 2 hours less than what they did a hundred years ago. And approximately one-third of the working class sleep less than six hours every night, according to Daily Mail.

The research focused on the response of the immune system rather than other factors such as inflammation. The researchers found out that when a person who lacks sleep was given a vaccine, there is a lower antibody response.

Dr. Nathaniel Watson is the co-director of UW Medicine Sleep Center at Harborview Medical Center. He said that for the immune system to be at its best, getting enough sleep is necessary. The recommended sleeping time for optimal health is seven or more hours. 

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