(SCMP) — Sleep deprivation can damage DNA and the body’s ability to repair this, possibly leading to higher chances of genetic diseases such as cancer, a study has found.

The University of Hong Kong research, which looked into the effects of sleep deprivation on local doctors, found that those who needed to work overnight shifts had a higher level of damage in their DNA, as well as lower levels of gene activity associated with DNA repair.

The study was among the first to examine such effects on humans, particularly on younger adults.

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