BD Live reports that a new study reveals people who are chronically jet lagged or sleep deprived are likely to die younger.
This warning was imparted by bleary-eyed researchers at an early morning session of the EuroScience Open Forum recently.
Alexis Webb, a neuroscientist-turned-science communicator, pointed to a 2006 study that showed chronically sleep-derived mice lived substantially shorter lives than mice that had a normal and uninterrupted sleep.
One reason is because the sleep deprived are at greater risk of injuring themselves: on less sleep people have slower response times and are likely to be less accurate when they act or make a decision.
This phenomenon is — very worryingly — exemplified by cabin crew, who are often jet lagged and have permanently confused body clocks. In 2000, a study found that cabin crew had more delayed response times than airline ground staff, and impaired spatial cognition.
“Cabin crew also exhibited cognitive deficits, possibly in working memory, that became apparent after several years of chronic disruption of circadian rhythms,” the authors of the study wrote. This became worse the more years that the cabin crew were chronically sleep deprived.