Staying awake all night disrupts more than 100 proteins in the blood, including those for immune functions

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Image: Staying awake all night disrupts more than 100 proteins in the blood, including those for immune functions

(Natural News) Planning to stay up all night? You may want to reconsider. New research found that staying up throughout the night and sleeping all day can interrupt the levels and time-of-day patterns of over 100 proteins in the blood, such as those that control blood sugar, energy expenditure, and immune function.

The study, published in the journal PNAS Network, evaluated how the plasma proteome, or protein levels in the blood, changes over a 24-hour period and how disrupted sleep and meal timing influence them.

For the study, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recruited six healthy males in their 20s. The study participants were instructed to spend six days in the clinical translational research center at the University of Colorado Hospital. During their stay, their meals, sleep, activity, and light exposure were strictly controlled. They stayed in dim light conditions, so that light exposure, which can affect the circadian system, does not influence the results.

During the first two days, the participants followed their normal schedule. After that, they slowly transitioned to a simulated night-shift work pattern, wherein they slept for eight hours during the day but stayed up all night, then ate.

Meanwhile, the researchers collected their blood samples every four hours to evaluate levels and time-of-day patterns of more than a thousand proteins. They discovered 129 proteins whose patterns were disrupted by the participants’ altered sleep pattern.

By the second day of following the night shift schedule, the researchers observed disruptions in the protein levels. When the participants stayed awake at night, levels of glucagon protein, which normally peaked during the day, peaked at night and vice versa. Glucagon levels also increased at higher levels. Glucagon is the protein that stimulates the liver to push more sugar into the bloodstream.


In addition, the night shift schedule reduced levels of fibroblasts growth factor 19, which enhance calorie-burning or energy expenditure. This supports the finding that participants burned 10 percent fewer calories per minute when their schedule is misaligned.

Researchers also observed that 30 proteins exhibited a clear 24-hour-cycle – with most of them peaking between 2 p.m. and 9 p.m. Their levels vary depending on what internal circadian time it is. Thus, they concluded that staying awake or eating at the wrong time can result in changes in protein patterns, leading to health consequences. (Related: Night owls at increased risk for dark personality traits, illness and depression.)

Staying up late at night can kill you

Staying up late at night or all night can increase the risk of death. In a study published in the journal Chronobiology International, it was found that people who stayed up late at night have a 10 percent higher chance of dying earlier than those who tuck in early.

Researchers from the University of Surrey and Northwestern University looked at the link between a person’s natural inclination toward morning or evenings and their risk of death. They monitored 433, 268 subjects, aged between 38 and 73, for six-and-a-half years. The subjects were grouped into four categories: definite morning type, moderate morning type, moderate evening type, and definite evening type.

Even after considering various factors that influence death risks, such as smoking, body mass index, and pre-existing health conditions, results revealed that those who were the “definite evening type” or those who stay up late at night are 10 percent more likely to die than the “definite morning type.” In addition, they were seen to have higher rates of diabetes and psychological disorders, and neurological disorders.

Read more news stories and studies on the consequences of a poor sleep schedule by going to

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