Scientists have discovered that broken DNA builds up in brain cells in the daytime and repair work reverses the damage only during sleep. I am not surprised by yet another study that shows us how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. The health industry is now obsessed with sleep aids and I believe and expect more remedies will be on the market for many years to come.
The research goes against the old trend, advocated by many high profile figures in the City and Government, such as Mrs Thatcher, who boasted about sleeping only four hours a night! I have always been suspicious of this view, because as an athlete, I learnt that rest and adequate recovery of the body is essential to optimum performance. I would not expect to perform well in endurance runs, for example, without appropriate rest. I would feel disturbed and foggy, and open to injury. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate properly without stimulants like coffee or tea. It is unsustainable and opens the body to long-term damage to their circadian rhythm, brain and immune systems…
“Chromosomes are constantly changing shape to allow the cells’ natural repair mechanisms to mend DNA damage at different points. When awake, the repair work cannot keep up with the rate at which damage builds up, but in the calm hours of sleep, the repair mechanisms have a chance to get on top of the job. It’s surprising, because the brain goes into a rest state, but the chromosomes move about twice as much during sleep. There is repair going on in the day, but sleep allows you to catch up.”
Lior Applebaum – BarIlan University Israel
These types of studies and research further highlight our responsibility to manage our lifestyles in order to maintain our long-term health. Broken DNA can lead to mutations that cause cancer, for example, amongst other illnesses.
“The best thing you can do for your health: sleep well.”