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Sleep Deprivation Affects Bone Health, Bone Marrow Activity

Recent investigation on the effects of chronic lack of sleep on bone health reveals that sleep deprivation may increase one’s risk for osteoporosis and altered bone marrow activity. Carol Everson, Ph.D., professor of neurology, cell biology, neurobiology and anatomy, and her colleagues at the Medical College of Wisconsin report that they have observed abnormalities in bone metabolism and bone marrow activity in mice experiencing prolonged sleep deprivation.

The results of the study revealed that chronic lack of sleep in laboratory mice lead to an imbalance in bone formation processes, which in humans can translate to the beginning of osteoporosis, a condition where bones weaken and become more prone to fractures. Medical implications also include poor bone repair which is needed for bone damage incurred from activities of daily living.

Aside from poor bone formation, chronic sleep deprivation may also lead to reduced bone marrow function which can lead to inflammation and disease. The bone marrow of sleep-deprived mice was found to have low fat cell content and increased platelet-generating cells (a type of blood cell involved in blood clotting). This results in reduced marrow plasticity, which in humans can lead to increased risk for disease and lower resistance to disease.

The authors believe that the increase in blood cell production may lead to inflammation and thrombocytosis, or overgrowth of blood cells that can lead to blood clot formation and stroke.

Their findings have recently been published in Experimental Biology and Medicine. Editor-in-Chief Dr. Steven R. Goodman comments that if these effects of sleep deprivation are found to be true with humans, their research will have great impact on current understanding on how it affects one’s risk for osteoporosis and bone marrow function.



Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Lack of sleep affects bone health and bone marrow activity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2012.


Posted in: Bone Diseases, Bone Health, News Briefs, Osteoporosis, Sleep

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