The importance of adequate and regular sleep to good health is consistently reinforced by studies, and two recent results tie this lifestyle behavior directly to type 2 diabetes in very different ways.
A Japanese group followed more than 3500 middle aged (35-55) government workers who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study for 4 years, constantly surveying their sleep habits and sleep satisfaction. In comparing the sleep data between the 121 participants who developed diabetes over the study period and those who did not the researchers found that those who got less than 5 hours sleep per night were almost 6 times more likely to have developed diabetes.
A just released study conducted at Brigham & Women’s Hospital hosted 21 healthy participants over a period of weeks where researchers monitored metabolic responses to sleep deprivation and sleep schedule disruption in a controlled environment. During the disruptive periods (participants were monitored under ideal sleeping conditions too) the researchers saw a reduction in resting metabolic rate and abnormal after-meal blood glucose increases due to poorer insulin secretion. The decrease in metabolic rate could lead to significant weight gain over time, and the imbalances in insulin secretion and blood glucose control could increase risk for prediabetes and diabetes.
Diet and exercise get a lot of attention as lifestyle components of weight control and diabetes management, and rightfully so. But, adequate sleep and stress management continue to show up as healthy lifestyle behaviors that cannot be ignored.