Less sleep linked to obesity, diabetes and other health ailments
Boston, MA, United States (AHN) – Too little sleep and a disrupted biological clock may up the risk of myriad health problems including obesity and diabetes, according to a study.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital say that a decreased resting metabolic rate causes a weight gain of more than 10 pounds in a year, even if diet and activity level are not changed. In addition, increased glucose concentration and poor insulin secretion could result in an increased risk of diabetes.
For the study, researchers followed the sleep pattern of 21 healthy participants in a controlled environment for nearly six weeks. The hours of sleep, when sleep occurred, diet and activities were all controlled.
Participants were first permitted to get optimal sleep, approximately 10 hours a night. The number was cut to 5.6 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period, with sleep occurring both during the day and night, simulating the schedule of rotating shift workers.
The study ended with participants getting nine nights of recovery sleep at the usual time.
Among the findings, a prolonged sleep restriction with circadian disruption decreased the participants resting metabolic rate. During this period, glucose concentration in the blood increased after meals due to poor insulin secretion by the pancreas.
The researchers surmise that these findings show that people with a pre-diabetic condition and shift workers who stay awake at night are much more prone to develop full-on diabetes than day workers.
The evidence reinforces the need for enough sleep and that for optimal effects, the sleep should come at night.