Why Sleep is So Crucial for Your Telomeres

Telomeres are the caps at the end of chromosomes that protect your cells and genes. When telomeres get short from aging, (or a lifestyle that promotes aging,), our cells cannot replenish. Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep these caps long and happy.

This week, we're taking a deep dive into sleep and cell aging. You are probably thinking: "Of course I should get a good night's sleep, I already knew that." But if sleep is so important, why is it that 45% of you are probably still chronically sleep-deprived? Do you skim off minutes of much-needed sleep each night, and let that add up to a deeply internalized weariness? Here is some new motivation for why you should become part of the well-rested majority: sleep affects your body all the way down to your cells!

UCSF Showcases AME Research: Evidence to Make and Keep your New Year's Resolution in 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- In case you needed motivation to make healthy changes in 2017, AME Researchers Drs. Eli Puterman, Aric Prather, Elissa Epel, and more have their research featured on the UCSF website today. UCSF writer Nina Bai summarized some of the most important and recent research about healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction, and sleep. 

"More than half of Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year, and though most people set out with the best of intentions, just a small percentage are successful in following through on their resolutions.

To give you a bit of scientific motivation, UC San Francisco gathered some of the latest research behind the most popular health-related New Year’s resolutions that attest to why it really is good for your body to see them through."

Read the full article here

Study Links Shorter Sleep and Sugar-Sweetened Drink Consumption

SAN FRANCISCO, CA-- AME Co-Director, Dr. Aric Prather published a new study that will be included in the December 2016 issue of Sleep Health. According to the study of more than 18,000 adults, people who sleep five or fewer hours a night are likely to also drink significantly more sugary caffeinated drinks, such as sodas and energy drinks. 

“We think there may be a positive feedback loop where sugary drinks and sleep loss reinforce one another, making it harder for people to eliminate their unhealthy sugar habit,” said lead author Aric A. Prather, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSF. “This data suggests that improving people’s sleep could potentially help them break out of the cycle and cut down on their sugar intake, which we know to be linked to metabolic disease.”

Read the full article at UC News Room

 

AME Director Dr. Elissa Epel Elected to the National Academy of Medicine for 2016

Elissa new headshot.jpeg

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- Dr. Elissa Epel, Director of the AME Lab, was one of 3 UC San Francisco faculty members elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine.

Membership in NAM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service in the medical sciences, health care and public health. The most recent UCSF members to join this distinguished group are:

Read more about her achievement here

    Early-Life Stress Affects Telomeres Later

    FLICKR; THOMAS RIED, NCI

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA- AME Researchers Drs. Eli Puterman, Nancy Adler, Aric Prather, and Elissa Epel's research on the association between accumulation of stressful events in childhood and shorter telomeres in adulthood is published in PNAS

    "The cumulative effect of stressful effects over a lifetime seemed to increase the odds of having shorter telomeres in older age by 6 percent, but these effects were primarily driven by stressful events in childhood, the researchers reported. The increase in odds reflects what is above and beyond the health and demographic factors thought to affect telomere length, including a person's age, race, body mass index, smoking status, and health problems."

    Read more about their findings here.