Insufficient sleep at night increases the risk of developing insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes due to the effect it has on the body’s fat cells, new research has revealed.
Previous studies have shown links between a lack of sleep and greater insulin resistance. But now scientists from the University of Chicago have become the first to offer clues as to why sleep deprivation leaves us more vulnerable to the precursor condition to type 2 diabetes.
The researchers examined seven young, lea, and healthy adults (six males and one female) over an eight day period. Four days consisted of 4.5 hours of sleep at night, and the other four days of 8.5 hours.
All of the participants ate the same foods and exercised for the same amount of time, and after each cycle had fat tissue samples taken and analysed to measure the response of fat cells to insulin .
The results showed that after four nights of deprived sleep the insulin sensitivity of the healthy subjects’ fat cells declined by 30 per cent to levels roughly the same as those seen in the tissue sample of diabetic and obese patients – suggesting that even fat cells need rest to work efficiently.
“This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restrictio,” said Matthew Brady, senior author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago.
“Fat cells need sleep, and when they don’t get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy.”
First author Josiane Broussard, a research fellow at the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute, commented: “This eye-opening study helps cement the link between sleep and diabetes, and also suggests that adequate sleep, like diet and exercise, is one of the healthy habits we can adopt to prevent or treat diabetes.”
The findings are published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine .

Get our free newsletters

Stay up to date with the latest news, research and breakthroughs.

You May Also Like

Conversation about doctors’ appointments occurring virtually rumbles on

More than half of GP appointments are still being delivered remotely in…

Coronavirus: UK instructed to stay at home this weekend

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that staying at home this weekend…

Twice daily dairy intakes could reduce type 2 diabetes risk

Eating cheese, yoghurt or eggs twice a day could help lower the…