Eating at night, sleeping by day swiftly alters key blood proteins
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Credit: CU Boulder

Staying awake all night and sleeping all day for just a few days can disrupt levels and time of day patterns of more than 100 proteins in the blood, including those that influence blood sugar, energy metabolism, and immune function, according to new University of Colorado Boulder research published in the journal PNAS this week.

“This tells us that when we experience things like jet lag or a couple of nights of shift work, we very rapidly alter our normal physiology in a way that if sustained can be detrimental to our health,” said senior author Kenneth Wright, director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory and Professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology.

The study is the first to examine how protein levels in human blood, also known as the plasma proteome, vary over a 24-hour period and how altered sleep and meal timing affects them.

It also pinpointed 30 distinct proteins that, regardless of sleep and meal timing, vary depending upon what internal circadian time it is.

The findings could open the door for developing new treatments for night shift workers, who make up about 20 percent of

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