At some point most Americans have endured a sleepless night, tossing and turning until the wee hours of the morning, but if you’re a smoker this could be much more common.
A new study, published in The FASEB Journal, suggests smoking disrupts the circadian clock function in both the lungs and the brain.
Translation: smoking ruins productive sleep, leading to cognitive dysfunction, mood disorders, depression and anxiety.
“This study has found a common pathway whereby cigarette smoke impacts both pulmonary and neurophysiological function. Further, the results suggest the possible therapeutic value of targeting this pathway with compounds that could improve both lung and brain functions in smokers,” said one of the study’s authors Irfan Rahman, Ph.D. in a press release.
The new findings give smokers yet another reason to kick the habit in the New Year, if cancer and heart disease isn’t enough motivation.
“We envisage that our findings will be the basis for future developments in the treatment of those patients who are suffering with tobacco smoke-mediated injuries and diseases,” said Rahman.
Researchers found tobacco smoke affects clock gene expression rhythms in the lung by producing parallel inflammation and depressed levels of brain locomotor activity.
In the study of mice, short and long-term smoking decreased a molecule known as SIRTUIN1 (an anti-aging molecule).
This reduction altered the level of the clock protein (BMAL1) in both the lung and brain tissues.
A similar reduction was also seen in lung tissue from human smokers and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
“If you only stick to one New Year’s resolution this year, make it quitting smoking,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal in a press release. “Only Santa Claus has a list longer than that of the ailments caused or worsened by smoking. If you like having a good night’s sleep, then that’s just another reason to never smoke.”