New research has indicated that a lack of sleep could increase your risk of diabetes. Unfortunately, the disrupted sleep is becoming more prevalent. Poor sleep can actually increase the levels of free fatty acids in the blood.
The study, the first to examine the impact of sleep loss on 24-hour fatty acid levels in the blood, adds to emerging evidence that insufficient sleep — a highly prevalent condition in modern society — may disrupt fat metabolism and reduce the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugars. It suggests that something as simple as getting enough sleep could help counteract the current epidemics of diabetes and obesity .’
Of course exercise, weight and diet still play a significant role in the prevention of diabetes. However, this new evidence highlights the important of having a good night sleep which we already know has many other benefits to our health.
‘The researchers recruited 19 healthy male subjects between the ages of 18 and 30. These volunteers were monitored through two scenarios in randomized order. In one, they got a full night’s rest — 8.5 hours in bed (averaging 7.8 hours asleep) during four consecutive nights. In the other, they spent just 4.5 hours in bed (averaging 4.3 hours asleep) for four consecutive nights. The two studies were spaced at least four weeks apart .’
The results showed a 15 – 30% increase in the fatty acid levels of participants whilst they were following the sleep restriction phase. Diet was also strictly monitored during the study. There was also an increase in insulin resistance which is associated with pre-diabetes.
‘”This study opens the door to several intriguing questions,” according to a Commentary in the journal by sleep specialists Jonathan Jun, MD, and Vsevolod Polotsky, MD, PhD, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Could variations in individual responses to short sleep explain susceptibility to metabolic consequences? Could dysregulation of fatty acid metabolism represent a common pathway linking various sleep disorders to metabolic syndrome? And why don’t clinicians routinely ask their patients about sleep ?’
This further supports the need to make time for good health by ensuring we eat well, have time to be physically active and switch off at night.