- Sleep deprivation and sleep disruption can have deleterious effects on immune system response and functioning while several immune and proinflammatory cells also possess sleep-regulatory properties. The proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin-1, interleukin-6, and tumor necrosis factor α are classified as official sleep-regulatory substances. Sleep deprivation can lead to increased risk of immune compromise and increased circulating levels of inflammation markers. Immune system abnormalities have been shown in several primary sleep disorders (shift work disorder, OSA, insomnia), which may help to explain the increased morbidity (malignancy, heart disease, stroke) and mortality risk observed in these conditions.
- Among the metabolic effects, a recent review has shown a variety of molecular and behavioral factors that may lead to an association between sleep disruption and metabolic disorders, including obesity and T2DM. Sleep loss appears to affect energy metabolism primarily by impairing insulin sensitivity and increasing food intake.
For hospitalized patients, the risks from sleep disturbance are compounded. About 70% of patients admitted to the hospital report waking up during the night due to external factors such as pain, alarms, medical procedures, and other patients’ voices.
It’s clear that sleep deprivation has significant effects on human body physiology, but we have yet to adequately study the effects of sleep disturbances on the perioperative patient. Research is needed in this area to identify the factors which can improve post-operative outcomes.
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