Lack of sleep linked to diabetes risk

Jan. 1, 2008 at 12:57 PM
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BOSTON, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- A lack of deep sleep has been linked to less sensitivity to insulin and higher risk of diabetes in a U.S. study of healthy young adults.

The study, published in the early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and available online, found young healthy subjects needed more insulin to dispose of the same amount of glucose after their deep -- or slow wave -- sleep was suppressed for three days. The decrease in insulin sensitivity was comparable to that caused by gaining 20 to 30 pounds.

Senior study author Eve Van Cauter, of the University of Chicago, said that while other studies have demonstrated reduced sleep quantity can impair glucose metabolism and appetite regulation resulting in increased risk of obesity and diabetes, this study provides the link between poor sleep quality to increased diabetes risk.

"Since reduced amounts of deep sleep are typical of aging and of common obesity-related sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, these results suggest that strategies to improve sleep quality, as well as quantity, may help to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in populations at risk," Van Cauter said in a statement.

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