When it comes to our health, doctors and researchers work together to develop evidence to support how our day-to-day choices affect our bodies later on in life. Especially when it comes to developing type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Although we have a general idea about the etiology of diabetes, there is still so much left to uncover.
For beginners, type 2 diabetes mellitus is characterized by insulin resistance. In other words, the body no longer responds to the insulin efficiently. This usually occurs when the body has excess visceral fat or lots of fat around your organs. Insulin resistance leads to spikes in blood sugar and many other detrimental conditions if left untreated.
Recent studies suggest that sleep can even affect your risk for developing insulin resistance. One study in particular comes from the University of Campinas in Sao Paolo, Brazil. These researchers wanted to find how insulin resistance can occur independently of obesity. They wanted to see how sleep, or lack thereof, can interfere with the regulation of important hormones like insulin.
In this study, researchers collected data from 615 teens between the ages of 10-19 over the course of 3 years, between 2011-2014. The teens were asked to report their nightly sleep patterns. During the course of the study, the researchers examined the subjects’ weight, height and blood pressure. In addition, 81 of these teens underwent an insulin- sensitivity test.
The results of the study showed that teens were sleeping, on average 7.9 hours per night, which is relatively healthy for an average teenager. However, of the 615 teens examined, 257 slept less than eight hours a night. These teens that slept less than eight hours per night were less sensitive to insulin than those who slept more.
Since the study only analyzed the subjects at one point in time, it is too quick to say that sleep deprivation leads to insulin resistance. However, the correlation between haphazard sleeping patterns and weight gain is undeniable. Consistently getting less sleep than your body needs can lead to uncontrolled appetite and weight gain which in turn may lead to type 2 diabetes.
Teens require around 9 to 10 hours of sleep per night. If they miss just two hours of sleep per day, this can greatly impact their short term as well as long term health. If you are a parent of a teen that has haphazard sleeping patterns, help them by encouraging physical activity during the day and limiting electronic devices at night.
This advice is good for you, even if you are not a teen. Your day-to-day activities certainly have an effect on your health as well. Make it a priority to take care of yourself and find ways to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Your turn to take action: How do you plan to get more sleep each night? Comment below.