A new study adds to the evidence that links ongoing sleep loss with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The small study involved 11 healthy volunteers; they had a mean age of 39 years. They were slightly overweight with an average body mass index (BMI) of 26.5.
The volunteers spent two, 14-day periods in a sleep lab. The two studies were conducted at least three months apart, reports MedPage Today. During one study period participants spent 8.5 hours in bed each night; during the other two-week study period their nightly time in bed was restricted to only 5.5 hours. In both studies their daytime activities were limited; but they were able to eat as much and as often as they wanted.
Bedtime restriction reduced their nightly sleep duration by more than two hours; during those two weeks they slept for an average of five hours, 11 minutes. Weight gain was similar during both study periods.
Results show that two weeks of sleep loss led to both insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. These are two markers of an increased diabetes risk.
“These results would indicate that a healthy lifestyle should include not only healthy eating habits and adequate amounts of physical activity, but also obtaining a sufficient amount of sleep,” study co-author Dr. Plamen Penev said in a prepared statement.
Another new study used survey data to link sleep duration with diabetes risk in Korean men; the risk of having type 2 diabetes was twice as high in those who reported sleeping five hours or less per night.
A study published in May linked self-reported sleep duration with diabetes risk in whites and Hispanics; those who reported sleeping seven hours or less were twice as likely to develop diabetes.
A 2007 study in the journal Sleep analyzed survey data from almost 9,000 people in the U.S.; sleeping five hours or less increased their diabetes risk by nearly 50 percent.
The AASM reports that most adults need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep plays an important role in regulating a number of body functions. These include body temperature, hormone production and metabolism.
Learn more about sleep loss and diabetes on SleepEducation.com.