A study carried out by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the US indicates that disrupted sleep patterns could lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
The study involved 21 healthy adult participants and lasted in total for over 5 weeks. In the first phase of the study, participants were given optimal sleep. The second phase involved 3 weeks of restricted sleep, in which participants had 5.6 hours of sleep per 24 hours. The final stage was 9 days of a recovery sleep pattern.
The results of the study showed that during the phase of restricted sleep, blood sugar levels in the participants significantly increased at after meal and fasting periods of time. Three of the 21 participants were experiencing blood glucose levels high enough to be regarded as pre-diabetic levels.
In addition to higher blood glucose levels, researchers also noticed that the participants produced less insulin and their resting metabolic rate had dropped by 8%. The researchers note that such a decrease in metabolic rate could translate to almost a stone in increased weight (12.5 pounds) over the year.
Dr Orfeu Buxto, the lead researcher, stated: “We think these results support the findings from studies showing that, in people with a pre-diabetic condition, shift workers who stay awake at night are much more likely to progress to full-on diabetes than day workers.”

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