Sleep & your Biological Clock


Did you know that the genes that control the biological clocks in cells throughout the body are altered after losing just a single night of sleep?

That’s right – after just one night!

We have all heard reports that metabolism is negatively affected by sleep loss and the important role sleep plays in achieving a healthy lifestyle. In fact, previous studies have reported that sleep loss is linked to an invreated risk of obesity and type-2 diabetes.

I have just read a recent study by Jonathan Cedernaes and his colleagues from Uppsala University in Sweden that has taken this one step further.

Their focus group was 15 healthy normal weight men who visited their lab on 2 separate occasions for almost 2 night long stays. In one session, the men slept as usual (over 8 hours) whilst during the other session, they were kept awake.

Keeping all other things equal, their findings were extremely interesting. Their research was based on the taking of small tissue samples (from the superficial fat on the stomach and from the muscle on the thigh – two kinds of tissues that are important for regulating metabolism and controlling blood sugar levels) and blood samples.

Molecular analyses of the collected tissue samples showed that the regulation and activity of clock genes was altered after one night of sleep loss.

What does this mean?

In essence, a single night of wakefulness can alter your biological clock.

How much sleep should you actually be getting?

Humans, like all animals, need sleep, along with food, water and oxygen, to survive. For humans sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being.

The Australian Sleep Health Foundation does report that individuals vary in their sleep needs but most adults require between 7 and 9 hours a night to feel properly refreshed and function at their best the next day. Click here to view their recommended sleep requirement for your age.

So what does your mouth have to do with your sleep?

The quality of your sleep is directly related to your mouth. At Dental Wellness one of the first assessments we do is a checklist to determine the quality of the sleep you are getting now. The process for breathing at night is a combination of nasal and oral breathing. While nasal breathing is optimum, we find many people are mouth breathers and this impacts the length of time you sleep and the quality of the sleep you achieve. You can read more on how we can help here.

Sleep is important – both in quantity and quality! Make sure, you are getting the sleep your body needs to function!

A great tip for waking up refreshed

Our sleep cycle is on average 90 minutes . In this period we move from light to deep sleep. Our deep sleep is important for detox, recovery and repair . You do not want to be woken by the alarm when in this sleep stage. Work out what time you are setting your alarm and then work back in multiples of 90 minutes to find out when you should go to sleep for optimal health.

e.g if you have to wake at 6.30am then you either need to go to sleep the night before at 11pm or 9.30pm.


The findings of the study conducted by Jonathan Cedernaes and his colleagues was posted on Sept. 7, 2015, on