Lack of sleep alters human gene activity

Latest research from the University of Surrey has found that as little as one week of inadequate sleep is enough to alter the activity of hundreds of human genes.

University of Surrey media release

February 2013

Latest research from the University of Surrey has found that as little as one week of inadequate sleep is enough to alter the activity of hundreds of human genes.  The research monitored the activity of all genes of the human genome and found that inadequate sleep (less than 6 hours a night) affects the activity of over 700 of our genes.  These included genes which are linked to controlling inflammation, immunity, and the response to stress.

Furthermore, the research shows that inadequate sleep reduced the number of genes that normally peak and wane in expression throughout the 24-hour day from 1,855 to 1,481. The authors found that the number of genes affected by sleep deprivation was seven times higher after a week of insufficient sleep.

Sleep deficiency leads to a host of significant health conditions including obesity, heart disease, and cognitive impairment, but until now scientists were unclear how gene expression patterns were altered by insufficient sleep. These ‘gene expression’ patterns provide important clues on the potential molecular mechanisms linking sleep and overall health.

Derk-Jan Dijk, Director of the Sleep Research Centre at the University of Surrey says:

“This research has helped us to understand the effects of insufficient sleep on gene expression.  Now that we have identified these effects we can use this information to further investigate the links between gene expression and overall health.”

The research was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of researchers consisting of physiologists, sleep and circadian rhythm experts and experts in functional genomics and bioinformatics.

Colin Smith, Professor of functional genomics at the University of Surrey says: “The current interest in sleep and circadian rhythms as determinants of health and disease is a vital area of research.  By combining our expertise in sleep and ‘genomics’ (the study of the full complement of our genes), we are starting to make breakthroughs that will have an impact on our understanding and treatment of poor health arising from insufficient sleep.”

The research was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and in part by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.


For more details contact Mike Findlay, Media Relations and Events Manager, on 01483 686076.

The effect of sleep on cardio vascular health

The effect of sleep deprivation on mental health and its links to suicide

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Obviously Professor Chapman has not read this article or does he deny like usual that the study is done by some incompetent. The government must have someone who is into the wind industry as they spend millions on RECs yet ignore peer-reviewed evidence that wind turbines do cause health issues mainly through sleep deprivation. False info is par for the course with skewed graphs and misleading statements. They always ignore evidence e.g. mercury poisoning and repo-medrol

  2. All the industrial turbine hugers (personal of industrial tubines, hosts & other persons who are supposed to be acoustic & health professionals) will have the smile taken off their faces when they have pay up for all the health problems & decrease in land values, all these turbines have caused. The courts will make this happen in the end, because all of the above personal have been made aware of all the affects of infersound ect that is causing the health issues. There has been plenty of scientfic edvence in the past few years out in this area of noise & loads more is coming out. When people have to leave their houses & live elsewere away from the wind turbines or sleep out doors to get peace to sleep it is a real shame because the infersound noise is greater inside then outside the house.

  3. Jim Hutson says:

    The failure of our Elected Representives to act on the Scientific evidence that has been and is currently being placed before them, is quite disturbing. For Government’s to act in all circumstances in favour of the Wind Turbine Developers to the detriment of Communities and Indivudial Land holders (Wind Turbine Victims ) is not only morally wrong, but a practice of corruption.
    With the Approval of more and more Wind Turbine Projects across NSW, with a total and utter disrespect to the people being affected, can only be seen as one thing.
    Government against the people.
    How much longer can indivudial Members of Parliament tolerate this situation.
    In other words, get some spine, and actually carry out what you swore on oath to protect.

  4. Jackie Rovensky says:

    The companies and governments don’t care, if people have a lack of sleep and cannot function properly all well and good, they can get away with even more theft of our lives and taxes.

  5. Similar studies have been done in several countries….all coming to the same conclusion, but still, the wind industry denies, and says , “We are only doing what the government allows us to do.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: