Faculty Articles

Short-term sleep deprivation leads to decreased systemic redox metabolites and altered epigenetic status.

Publication Title

PLoS One





Publication Date / Copyright Date


First Page


Last Page



Sleep is critical for repair as well as the rejuvenation processes in the body and many of these functions are regulated via underlying cellular metabolic homeostasis. Changes in sleep pattern are reported to alter such metabolic function resulting in altered disease susceptibility or behavior. Here, we measured the extent to which overnight total sleep deprivation (SD) in young adult humans can influence systemic (plasma-derived) redox-metabolism including the major antioxidant, glutathione as well as DNA methylation levels. Nineteen participants (n = 19, μ age = 21, SD = 3.09) underwent morning testing before and after overnight total SD. Biochemical measures before and after SD revealed that glutathione, ATP, cysteine, and homocysteine levels were significantly reduced following one night of sleep deprivation (all p's < 0.01). Parallel to the well-recognized fact that sleep deprivation (maintaining wakefulness) uses up metabolic reserves, we observed that morning cortisol levels were blunted after sleep deprivation. There were no significant correlations between self-reported or actigraphy-measured sleep and the biochemical measurements, strongly indicating that prior sleep behavior did not have any direct influence on the biochemical measures taken at baseline or after sleep deprivation. Results from the current investigation supports the previous literature implicating the induction of oxidative stress and ATP depletion with sleep deprivation. Furthermore, such altered antioxidant status can also induce downstream epigenetic changes. Although we did not measure the specific genes that were altered under the influence of such sleep deprivation, such epigenetic changes could potentially contribute towards disease predisposition.


Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Actigraphy, Adult, Circadian Rhythm, DNA Methylation, Epigenesis, Genetic, Epigenomics, Female, Humans, Male, Oxidation-Reduction, Oxidative Stress, Sleep, Sleep Deprivation, Wakefulness, Young Adult

Find in your library