British scientists have shown that the lack of sleep effects many changes at the cellular level, probably for the worse, although more research is needed.
researchers at the University of Surrey analysed the blood of 26 people after they had had plenty of sleep, up to 10 hours each night for a week, and compared the results with samples after a week of fewer than six hours a night.With all the time-shifting capability of modern technology---devices that record TV shows, websites that store news articles--it's rarely important to stay up late for personal reasons (work and child care are exceptions, just make sure it's really necessary). Two months after the New Year, the sleep resolution starts now. (H/T Glenn Reynolds) © 2013 Stephen Yuen
More than 700 genes were altered by the shift. Each contains the instructions for building a protein, so those that became more active produced more proteins - changing the chemistry of the body. [snip]
Prof [Colin] Smith added: "Clearly sleep is critical to rebuilding the body and maintaining a functional state, all kinds of damage appear to occur - hinting at what may lead to ill health.
"If we can't actually replenish and replace new cells, then that's going to lead to degenerative diseases."