Sleep Linked To Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Researchers believe that sleep may play a role in type 2 diabetes prevention. Results of a study suggests that men who did not get enough sleep during the working week but catch up during the weekend can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The results were recently presented at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting held in San Francisco last June 15-18.

Researchers from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, conducted a study among men who experienced chronic sleep restriction during the working week. The researchers found out that men’s insulin sensitivity, the body’s ability to clear glucose from the bloodstream, improved after taking three nights of catching up on sleep during the weekends. According to Peter Liu, a lead researcher for the said study, “We all know we need to get adequate sleep, but that is often impossible because of work demands and busy lifestyles.”

“Our study found extending the hours of sleep can improve the body’s use of insulin, thereby reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes in adult men,” Liu added.

Liu and his fellow researchers wanted to know what happens to insulin sensitivity in people who lack sleep considerably during the week. Liu teamed up with researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia who found 19 non-diabetic study participants. The group had an average age of 29 years old. The participants also reported that they do not get enough sleep during the working week for several years. The sleep average for the participants is 6.2 hours for the working week days over an average period of 5.1 years.

However, the men said that they also regularly made up for lost sleep during the weekends for an average of an extra 2.3 hours per night. For the study, the researchers requested the participants to wear actigraph devices on their wrists aside from recording their sleep times. The device monitored when the participants were asleep and when they were awake.

The researchers also invited the participants to spend three nights over two separate weekends in a sleep lab. In the lab, the participants was randomly assigned two of three sleep patterns, one weekend for one pattern and the other weekend for the other. In one sleep pattern, the participants slept 10 hours without any disturbance. In another sleep pattern, they slept for six hours. The third pattern has the participants sleeping 10 hours with disturbances such as noises that can arouse them into shallow sleep.

On the morning of the fourth day in the sleep lab, the participants provided fasting blood samples for insulin sensitivity testing. All the participants were given the same food during their stay at the sleep lab, ruling out diet as an influencing factor.

After analyzing the results, the researchers found that insulin sensitivity improved when the participants slept for 10 hours a night for three days. Their insulin sensitivity was much better as compared to when they had persistent sleep restriction. Their insulin resistance test score also improved with extended sleep times.

Source: Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) (2013, June 18). Getting enough sleep could help prevent type 2 diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 21, 2013, from
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