It was found that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes has been linked to a lack of sleep. According to the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, including a few more hours of sleep every week may lower your risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes is currently the 7th leading cause of death and affects an estimated 26 million people in the United States, as well as many more in the developed world.
Type 2 diabetes patients become resistant to insulin and it becomes inefficient in clearing out glucose from the bloodstream. The study found that men who prolonged three nights of their sleep also improved their insulin sensitivity, which is responsible for regulating glucose in the blood stream.
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Insulin sensitivity can be improved with longer sleeping hours. Most Americans these days work for a longer period of time during the work week and are engaged in more social activities than in the past. Such a lifestyle explains the current decrease in sleeping hours.
According to the article from labiomed.org, researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia did a study on 19 non-diabetic men who had reported an average of 5.1 years of having a lack of sleep during the workweek. They slept an average of 6.2 hours each night during the week, but slept 37.4 percent longer (or 2.3 hours) longer each night during the weekend. Length of sleep was reported by a device the subjects wore on their wrist which monitored the sleep-wake cycles.
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The men spent three nights in a sleep lab on each of two separate weekends. The researchers randomly assigned the men to two of three sleep conditions: (1) 10 hours of sleep, (2) six hours of sleep or (3) 10 hours in bed, in which noises during deep sleep aroused them into shallow sleep without waking them. The six hours of sleep tested persistent sleep restriction.
During the whole study time, the men had the same food intake so that the diet would not influence the results. Researchers concluded that the men who slept 10 hours a night had improved insulin sensitivity and decreased insulin resistance by a significant factor.
Things to Consider About Type 2 Diabetes
Despite the news that longer sleep could provide improved insulin sensitivity and raise the possibility of preventing type 2 diabetes from developing, keep in mind that this study consisted of a sample of 19 people. Some may consider this to be an insufficient quantity for conclusive research, including myself. You certainly would not want to be prescribed a medication whose effectiveness was confirmed by a few studies that had a handful of sample cases each. More elaborate research should be done to find conclusive evidence for a link between improved sleep and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
In line with longer sleeping hours, one should also take personal responsibility for his or her own diet. One should be aware of how much sugar and carbohydrates are consumed. There is a higher risk for type 2 diabetes in people with obesity. As of June 18th, 2013, obesity is now officially recognized as a disease, according to the American Medical Association.