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Sleep Duration and Diabetes - A Connection?

May 05 2010

Can not getting enough sleep be a factor in the incidence of diabetes? In the last two decades sleep duration has been decreasing while Type 2 Diabetes is reaching epidemic levels. According to an article in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published online this month, Dutch researchers propose that this is not a coincidence.

Cells need glucose, a byproduct of carbohydrate digestion. Insulin is needed to facilitate glucose entry into cells but in type 2 diabetes, The cells are resistant to its action. Poor food choices, obesity and lack of exercise along with genetic predisposition have all been linked to the development of this disease.  While previous studies have linked several nights of poor sleep with impaired use of insulin, this study found that just a single bad night’s sleep can reduce the effectivess of insulin by 19-25%. This study included just nine healthy people so it’s too soon to jump to firm conclusions.

As we move into finals week with nights of last minute studying on the horizon, try to aim for a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. Yes, this may sound unrealistic but with advanced planning and better time management, the health benefits may be even more than you ever realized.

Author: mindy_haar