A new study published in the journal Immunity has revealed that irregular sleep could make our immune system more vulnerable to infections.
The study was conducted by researchers from Yale University who found that a body's 24-hour cycle, or circadian rhythm, affects a key protein gene known as TLR-9. Conducting tests on mice, the researchers found that they had the highest resistance to infection when their expression levels of TLR-9 were also at their highest point.
The researchers concluded that sleep plays a very important role in fighting infections and humans suffering from sepsis, blood poisoning, were more likely to die between 2AM and 6AM. "Sleeping patterns of patients in intensive care are often disrupted because of the noise and prolonged exposure to artificial light. It will be important to investigate how these actors influence immune system response", lead researcher Dr Erol Fikrig said.