Open Access Honors Program Thesis
Dilbur D. Arsiwalla, Honors Thesis Advisor
Jessica Moon, Director, University Honors Program
Decades of research has shown that sleep plays a vital role in our health, and disruptions in sleep can have long term detrimental effects on our lives (Yoo, 2007). The recommended amount of sleep by the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) for adults is between 7-9 hours each night (NSF, 2020). It is common knowledge that too few hours of sleep are unhealthy, but scientists are only beginning to understand the mechanisms that explain the connections between sleep patterns and health outcomes (CDC, 2011). Additionally, recent research has shown that excess sleep can be just as detrimental, if not more, to health outcomes (Patel, 2009). One of the reasons that poor sleep can be a negative consequence for health is because sleep disruptions can lead to inflammation (Patel, 2009). Inflammation is often a positive event that is occurring in the body because it signifies that the body is healing. When a person gets a cut, the area around the wound becomes inflamed because inflammatory biomarkers are being called to the area to promote repair. However, too much inflammation can have negative consequences. If a person is consistently getting poor sleep, then their body believes that it is constantly needing repair. This activates the immune system and the previously mentioned inflammatory biomarkers are called to respond (Mullington, 2010). These biomarkers, which normally help to heal areas of damage, might cause the immune system to attack areas of healthy tissue, therefore causing damage rather than repairing damage. Therefore, it is important to understand how this affects chronic health. Chronic disease and inflammatory processes often coincide. When a patient has a chronic health condition, their immune system is activated and is sending inflammatory biomarkers to respond (Laveti, 2013). However, the question of whether the elevated levels of biomarkers are a side effect of the chronic disease or a cause of the disease is unknown. If it is a cause, then it is possible that poor sleep resulting in high levels of biomarkers could lead to chronic disease. In the current review, research on the effects of inflammatory biomarkers that are elevated as a result of sleep is examined as well as the role that these biomarkers play in the increased risk for chronic health diseases.
Year of Submission
Department of Psychology
University Honors Designation
A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors
1 PDF file (34 pages)
©2020 Madeline Walker
Walker, Madeline, "Literature review: The role of inflammatory biomarkers in the connections between sleep and chronic health conditions" (2020). Honors Program Theses. 428.