In a new study from the University of Buffalo, results showed that getting less than six hours of sleep a night would be contributory to the development of diabetes. Not only is diabetes the consequence, other health issues are prevalent such as cardiovascular disease.
The study’s first author Lisa Rafalson of the University of Buffalo’s Department of Family Medicine said “This research supports growing evidence of the association of inadequate sleep with adverse health issues.”
The study is to be published in the Annals of Epidemiology, the team found that those who sleep six hours or less during the work week increase the risk to three times as much to contract the condition. They found that these six hours or less sleepers have increased levels of glucose in their bloodstream.
This condition is pre-diabetic in nature as there is impaired fasting glucose. The blood sugar levels of these individuals are between 100 to 125 mg/dl and these are precursors to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Other studies showed that lack of sleep results in the production of appetite increasing hormones. This makes these individuals crave for calorie intense food leading to increased blood glucose levels.
Another effect of lack of sleep is the decrease in glucose tolerance, increased cortisol levels and wide changes in heart rate, all contributory to higher sugar levels in the bloodstream.
The study placed ninety-one people into groups, with one defined as short sleepers or those that sleep less than six hours from Sunday to Thursday. The second group was called long sleepers who slept more than eight hours and the third group was the control group who slept between six to eight hours.
The study results found that the short sleeper group had a significantly higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes compared to the long sleepers and the control group. Another fact found was that long sleepers increased the probability of having fasting glucose but the results were not statistically significant.
“A high glucose level is associated with many complications, such as heart disease and premature death,” says Rafalson. “Physicians should discuss sleep habits with their patients, along with other lifestyle issues that are important to long-term health, such as diet and exercise.”