Neurology Central

Relationship between sleep and blood copper levels uncovered

A new University of Eastern Finland (Joensuu, Finland) study, analyzing the health and lifestyle habits of middle-aged men, has indicated that too much or too little sleep could have an impact on inflammatory responses within the body.

While previous studies highlighted a link between reduced sleep duration and low-grade inflammation, this investigation is the first to assess the relationship between sleep duration and serum micronutrient concentrations in a large sample size.

The research team collected data from 2,682 male subjects living in Eastern Finland, who were all participating in the Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor (KIHD) study, which has been ongoing at the University of Eastern Finland since 1984. Information on the individuals’ age, smoking history, alcohol consumption, depressive symptoms, physical activity and metabolic syndrome were all taken into account.

The study highlighted a link between high serum copper concentration and long sleep duration however the exact nature of this relationship remains unclear. Maria Luojus (University of Eastern Finland) commented: “Based on this study it is impossible to say whether sleeping long results in high serum copper concentrations or vice versa.”

It has however been suggested that high serum copper concentration may be associated with pro-oxidative stress. “Pro-oxidative stress is found in many chronic diseases, such as coronary artery disease. Nevertheless, when the study participants’ cardiovascular diseases were taken account for, our results remained unchanged. The association between serum copper concentration and sleep duration persisted independently of cardiovascular diseases,” explained Luojus.

Moving forward, the team hope to further investigate the mechanisms underlying the relationships uncovered.

Sources: University of Eastern Finland press release; Luojus MK, Lehto SM, Tolmunen T, Elomaa AP, Kauhanen J. Serum copper, zinc and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in short and long sleep duration in ageing men. J Trace Elem Med Biol. 32, 177–182 (2015).