Getting enough sleep on a regular basis seems to be one of many steps you can take to help stay healthy.
In a recent study the researchers checked the blood of the participants for an important inflammatory factor called NF-kappaB which has shown to be linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer (Irwin M, et al, 2008).
After a night of normal sleep the measurements of NF-kappaB in the participants were compared to samples taken after a night where they had stayed up very late.
After the late night the inflammatory factor in the women, but not in men, had increased significantly. A night of normal sleep restored the levels to normal again.
Most of us realize that too little sleep on a regular basis is not healthy, but that it is as harmful as this research documented is probably surprising.
Irwin MR, et al. Sleep loss activates cellular inflammatory signaling. Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Sep 15;64(6):538-40.