Extra sleep can help to cut the risk of type 2 diabetes for women but not for men

Benedict Jephcote
Fri, 30 Sep 2016
Extra sleep can help to cut the risk of type 2 diabetes for women but not for men
Women who sleep for eight hours or more may actually be healthier regarding their risk of diabetes according to a new study.

However, it is important to note that results of a single study should not be regarded as definitive.

The evidence was discovered after a Dutch-led team of researchers studied almost 800 middle-aged men and women in a bid to find out more about the link between sleep and diabetes.

Volunteers were told to wear a device that tracked their sleep and underwent tests to measure their insulin sensitivity. A low sensitivity to insulin is the hallmark of type 2 diabetes.

Researcher Dr. Femke Rutters, of the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam, said: "In a group of nearly 800 healthy people, we observed sex-specific relationships between sleep duration and glucose metabolism.

"In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future.

"In women, however, no such association was observed."

The volunteers slept for an average of seven hours and 18 minutes. Surprisingly, when the women slept for shorter or longer than this, their bodies became better at responding to insulin, potentially representing a decreased risk of diabetes.

The findings indicate that men and women appear to have different responses to sleep in term of insulin sensitivity which warrants further investigation as to why this may happen.
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