Sleep protects against cardiovascular disease

21 Mar Sleep protects against cardiovascular disease

Getting enough sleep is important to good health, and studies have shown that insufficient sleep increases the risk of serious problems, including cardiovascular disease. Recently published in the journal Nature, researchers have identified how a hormone in the brain controls processes in the bone marrow and protects against cardiovascular disease/atherosclerosis.

The study revealed that sleep-deprived mice had nearly two-fold increase in the production of stem cells in their bone marrow that give rise to white blood cells. The hormone hypocretin, produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and known to have a role in the regulation of sleep, was found to play a role in controlling white blood cell production. While normally produced at high levels when awake, hypocretin levels were significantly reduced in the sleep-deprived mice. This drop in hypocretin led to increased CSF-1 production by neutrophils, elevated monocyte production and accelerated atherosclerosis.


Story Source:

Massachusetts General Hospital. “Why getting enough sleep reduces cardiovascular disease risk: Sleep-modulating hormone hypocretin found to also control production of inflammatory cells.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2019. <>.


Journal Reference:

McAlpine CS, Kiss MG, Rattik S, He S, Vassalli A, Valet C, Anzai A, Chan CT, Mindur JE, Kahles F, Poller WC, Frodermann V, Fenn AM, Gregory AF, Halle L, Iwamoto Y, Hoyer FF, Binder CJ, Libby P, Tafti M, Scammell TE, Nahrendorf M, Swirski FK. Sleep modulates haematopoiesis and protects against atherosclerosisNature, 2019 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-0948-2