Severe sleep deprivation has the same effect on the immune system as physical stress, according to a new study. Researchers ... found sleep loss triggers the production of white blood cells, known as granulocytes, particularly at night.
"The granulocytes reacted immediately to the physical stress of sleep loss and directly mirrored the body's stress response," explained the study's lead author, Katrin Ackermann, a postdoctoral researcher at the Eramus MC University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands, in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
In conducting the study, the researchers tracked the white blood cell count of 15 healthy young men who followed a strict schedule of eight hours of sleep every day for a week, then compared that with their white blood cell counts during 29 hours of sleep deprivation. Read the entire article.
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