Sleep debt linked to diabetes2nd January 2008
The inability to get a good night's rest has been associated with the development of insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes.
A team of researchers in the United States found that volunteers who were roused whenever they were about to fall into deep sleep developed insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance leads to raised blood sugar levels, weight gain, and eventually type 2 diabetes.
Lead researcher Esra Tasali said strategies to improve sleep duration and quality should be considered as a potential intervention to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study confirmed previous findings which have also shown a link between diabetes and lack of sleep.
Deep, or slow-wave sleep, is associated with metabolic processes.
Researchers monitored nine healthy men and women for two consecutive nights to establish a baseline of their normal sleep patterns.
They then woke the volunteers with a loud noise whenever they drifted into delta-wave deep sleep, although the amount of overall sleep they had was unchanged.
The volunteers were then injected with glucose, and their daytime blood sugar levels and insulin response was measured.
Eight out of the nine had become less sensitive to insulin, the University of Chicago researchers found.
Previous studies have shown that getting less sleep can affect insulin sensitivity. This new study shows the effect is repeated when sleep is disrupted.
Tasali said an alarming rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes was associated with an ageing population and increased obesity, and that it was important to understand the factors that promote its development.
Chronic shallow sleep and diabetes are typical factors associated with ageing. Tasali said more research was needed to find out if age-related changes in sleep quality contributed to such metabolic changes.
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