Background: Parasitic diseases like malaria are a major public health problem in many countries and disrupted sleep patterns are an increasingly common part of modern life. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of paradoxical sleep deprivation (PSD) and sleep rebound (RB) on malarial parasite infection in mice.
Methods: After PSD, one group was immediately infected with parasites (PSD). The two other PSD rebound groups were allowed to sleep normally for either 24 h (24 h RB) or 48 h (48 h RB). After the recovery periods, mice were inoculated with parasites.
Results: The PSD group was the most affected by parasites presenting the higher death rate (0.02), higher number of infected cells (p < 0.01), and decrease in body weight (p < 0.04) compared to control and 48 h RB groups. The 24 h RB group was also different from control group in survival (p < 0.03), number of infected cells (p < 0.05) and body weight (p < 0.04). After 48 hours of sleep rebound animals were allowed to restore their response to parasitic infection similar to normal sleep animals.
Conclusions: These results suggest that PSD is damaging to the immune system and leads to an increased infection severity of malaria parasites; only 48 hours of recovery sleep was sufficient to return the mice infection response to baseline values.