Home
 »  News
 »  Sleep Deficit and Diabetes: How Much We Sleep Affects Our Health
Diabetes1 Headlines

Sleep Deficit and Diabetes: How Much We Sleep Affects Our Health

Printer Friendly Version     Email this Article     Links/Reprints

How Much We Sleep Affects Our Health

Sleep Deficit and Diabetes: How Much We Sleep Affects Our Health

November 13, 2007

By: Laurie Edwards for Diabetes1

In an age of constant Internet access, cable news, cell phones and endless supplies of caffeine, it’s no surprise that many Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. While we all know that persistent lack of sleep can wreak havoc on our moods, research is beginning to uncover the effects our decreased sleep has on our bodies: A heightened risk for major illnesses like cancer, heart disease and obesity.

Take Action
Sleep for Your Health

Lack of sleep can do more than make us cranky and irritable – less than five or six hours a night increases our risk of developing major health problems like obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

It’s about the appetite: When we don’t get enough sleep, the normal balance of hormones that keeps our cravings in check is disrupted.

Given the growing obesity epidemic in our country and the close association between obesity and Type 2 diabetes, this emerging body of research indicates that an overall healthy lifestyle isn’t just about what we eat but how much we rest.


In terms of developing diabetes, the link between how much we sleep has an even more interesting relationship: Too little sleep or too much sleep can increase the risk.

“We’re shifting to a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week society, and as a result we’re increasingly not sleeping like we used to. We’re really only now starting to understand how that is affecting health, and it appears to be significant,” said Najib T. Ayas of the University of British Columbia.

An emergence of new research examining sleep and physical health points to the idea that America’s growing obesity epidemic is at least partly caused by a shift in our attitudes towards sleeping. The effects of not enough sleep include changes in metabolic and endocrine function – including decreased carbohydrate tolerance – insulin resistance and lower levels of leptin, a hormone that helps lead to obesity.

Studies have shown that sleep deficit causes the body to be in a state of alert, which increases the production of stress hormones and levels of substances in the blood that point to increased inflammation and are risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

Researchers have discovered that even slight sleep disturbances disrupt normal levels of leptin and ghrelin, both of which regulate appetite. These findings correspond to the theory that humans might be wired genetically so that we need to be awake at night only when we need to search for food or ward off danger.

In terms of developing diabetes, it seems as though there’s a “magic” number of hours slept per night. According to a recent study published in Diabetes Care, seven hours is considered ideal in terms of minimizing the risk of developing diabetes. The study followed more than 1,100 middle-aged and elderly men enrolled in the Massachusetts Male Aging Study living in the Boston area. Starting in the 1980s, the men provided blood samples and answered questions about their health. Researchers followed up with the men in the mid-1990s and from 2002-2004.

The study found that the diabetes risk was twice as high for men who slept less than five or six hours. For men who slept more than eight hours per night, their risk of developing diabetes was three times higher than it was for men who slept seven hours.

“These elevated risks remained after adjustment for age, hypertension, smoking status, self-related health status and education,” said lead author Dr. H. Klar Yaggi of Yale University’s Department of Internal Medicine.

It’s important to realize that this study does not mean sleep habits either directly cause or prevent diabetes. For instance, men who reported seven hours of sleep per night tended to be younger with better education, better overall health status and higher levels of testosterone.

The study also highlights a connection between testosterone and diabetes in terms of body fat distribution and insulin resistance.

Not everyone is convinced that the link between sleep patterns and health issues couldn’t be just as easily explained by other factors.

“There are Chicken Little people running around saying that the sky is falling because people are not sleeping enough. But everyone knows that people are getting healthier. Life expectancy has been increasing, and people are healthier today than they were generations ago,” said Daniel F. Kripke of the University of California at San Diego.

Discuss Sleep Deficit and Diabetes in our Forums More Forums

Previous Stories

more Feature Stories

Comments

  • Add Comment

  • RSS
    From the BLOGS
    My Third Left "Nipple"
    Comment By FatCatAnna
    more
    Comment
    more Blogs
    Medication
    By FatCatAnna

    Posted: Mar 17, 2017
     Thanks for that Andre77 ... though in this area where you've posted "Type 1 Diabetes" - we already know we've got diabetes (50+ years for me).   DiabetesUK has a pretty good description of ...

    more more Forums Create a Topic
    Youth Diabetes: A Teacher's Perspective
    A young middle school teacher who talks about the impact obesity has had ...
    more more Featured Videos
    Cost Savings Tool
    Do you know the annual cost of managing your diabetes? Would you like to find ways to reduce your costs? Calculate your total budget and identify ways to save money. You can do this in just a few minutes by entering facts about the products you use. This quick analysis will provide you with a comprehensive overview of both spending and potential savings.

    Cost Savings Tool
    Monitor Comparison Tools
    Blood glucose monitors offer an easy way to test your blood sugar at home or on the go. Use this comparison tool as a guide to learn more about the features and benefits of your current monitor or to find a new one.
    Handheld Monitor Comparison
    Continuous Glucose Monitor Comparison
    Advanced BMI Calculator
    Ever wonder if you are at a healthy weight? Then enter your height and weight in our advanced Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator. This tool provides you with two important numbers reflecting the estimated impact of your present body weight and shape upon your overall health.
    Advanced BMI Calculator
    more Care Tools
     
    Dr. Wayne Caputo

    Dr. Wayne Caputo:

    Simplifying Treatment of Diabetic Ulcers
      more
      more Heroes
      nominate a Hero
      Hero policy
    Home | About Us | Press | Make a Suggestion | Content Syndication | Terms of Service | Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy
    Last updated: Mar 28, 2017  © 2017 Body1 All rights reserved.