Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Jetlag death

I admit this title is a little misleading, but now since you're reading...

So, I'm on call tonight. Typical disrupted night of sleep, and usually takes me a day or two to recover. I'm now learning that in animal experiments, those subjects who experienced changes consistent with jetlag or shift work changes had increased rates of mortality. (BBC News)

We all know that the body has a certain sleep/wake cycle called the circadian rhythm. And, those who cross more than one time zone traveling, or those who work different shifts, or those who may be up all night on call, or those who actually stay up to watch tv for the US election results (me), or those who call themselves bloggers, may have difficulty sleeping. Our bodies are used to a certain length of time with daylight and a certain length of time with darkness.

Researchers at the University of Virginia put mice to this test. They put some mice's clocks forward and other mice's clocks behind by altering their sleep/wake cycles.
Separate groups of young and old mice had normal [sleep] cycles. Younger animals appeared unaffected by alterations to their schedule. But only 47% of the older mice whose "nights" were shortened survived, compared with 68% of those whose nocturnal time was lengthened and 83% of those who remained on a normal schedule.
Yeesh! The only thing I can gather from this data is this -- Glad that I'm not an older mouse! I wonder if they have any data on lice or chickens, or the fly? (oh my!)

14 comments:

NeoNurseChic said...

Or nurses who used to switch between night and day shift on a weekly basis! Or nurses who have cluster headaches that wake them up all night long! Or nurses that volunteer to work 16 hour shifts and then are so tired they must sleep 24 hours to recover. Or nurses who are addicted to blogging! (And furthermore, to reading blogs!) ;)

You've gotta learn to accept it - just like me...We're slated for an early death! haha... But what is that quote about not just leading a quiet, passive, long life but rather going at full speed, sliding into the grave, yelling, "Wooohooooo What a ride!!!" I don't know if I can say that just yet, but hey....ya never know! ;)

Hugz,
Carrie :)

Anonymous said...

I also read that article yesterday... interesting. I would definitely fall into the category of alternating shift work and my body hates it. I feel awful for the first few nights of work (literally my body hates it.. I feel horrible and sick) and it is difficult to switch back. This research is a great wake up call, but I hardly think anyone will change. By the way, did you know that if you smoke a cigarette you will die of lung cancer? (how many people has that affected?!)
Get some sleep Dr. A!

Mother Jones RN said...

Are there four beats per measure in Circadian rhythm? Sorry, I have a musical background and I've just taken more pain medication for my bum ankle. My feeling goofy.

Sorry you're sleep is getting disrupted. Have you ever fallen back to sleep while giving telephone orders to a nurse?

MJ

The Curmudgeon said...

Here's hoping that you and I are in that favored 47%.

Wrkinprogress said...

This seems to prove what I've thought all along -- sleep is a very under-appreciated activity. Does this mean we should take a lot of naps? :D

Dreaming again said...

I JUST saw this news story seconds before I opened your blog ... sppoookkkkkyyyyy ....


I hate talking about sleep.

I keep thinking ...sleep, nice work if you can get it ...

her indoors said...

i love sleep, what happens to us that get lots of sleep, maybe too much sleep, sorry am i making you jealous! hope you dont get called out too much

Midwife with a Knife said...

mj rn: (I know the question wasn't directed at me, sorry!) I've fallen asleep while dictating operative reports, while writing admit/progress notes, once while talking to a patient, once while talking to a nurse and erm...while driving. I'm not sure there's anything I haven't fallen asleep during.

Anonymous said...

I remember night shifts. They sucked. I basically felt like zoombie for a couple of days afterwards. It was like having amnesia!

Midwife with a Knife said...

Isn't there a Warren Zevon song that says something like, "I'll party now, I'll sleep when I'm dead?"

Austin of Sundrip said...

My doctor said to me, you're killing yourself by not sleeping at night or not sleeping at all. I know for certain that lack of sleep and a jacked up inner clock has ruined my health. It has caused few changes. It's 7am and I've not gone to bed yet. Someday I'll have the understanding that I'm not immortal and when it hits a reasonable hour I'll lay my butt down and sleep. Until then I'll surf the net and continue to wear a whole in this chair.

Aussie

skinnylittleblonde said...

I beleive it & I'm sure my lack of sleep will one lead to my certain demise.
Recently I read/saw something about a rare genetic disorder that causes extremely severe insomnia...the people literally cannot sleep & it causes their death, beginning with shut down of the gastro-intestinal system. UGH.

Bazza said...

Help, Doc! I'm flying to Spain tomorrow morning and it's one hour behind the UK. Am I at risk?

Anonymous said...

I worked nights for a year and that year I was sick almost constantly. I totally buy the early death. All this talk about sleep is making me tired, or is it the fact that my kids got up at the crack of dawn that is making me tired? Well either way I need a nap.