Lack of Sleep May Affect Bone Health, Study Suggests

From diabetes and heart disease to obesity and depression, not getting enough sleep at night has been associated with several chronic diseases and conditions.

Now, another health problem may come with insufficient sleep: decreased bone mineral density.

Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin found that sleep-deprived rats had abnormalities in bone and bone marrow. The abnormalities prevented new bone formation, decreased the fat within the red marrow and increased platelet levels. The results appear in the September 2012 issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

“With increased life stress due to work-related, financial and other issues, a large percentage of us are experiencing difficulties in sleeping,” said Dr. Steven R. Goodman, editor-in-chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine, in a news statement. “While we know that chronic sleep loss can affect our health, little specific information has been available on how it may impact bone formation or loss.”

If the effects of losing sleep in rats are the same in humans, Goodman said, “this work will have great impact on our understanding of the impact of sleep deprivation on osteoporosis and inability to repair bone damage as we age.”

+ Learn about Sleep Disorders

+ Read about Bone Density Scans

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