Sleep Deprivation and Obesity Triggers Diabetes


Lack of SleepThere has been much research which were done to see the effect of sleep deprivation on a person. It was even previously known that sleep disorders are linked with depression. The results of these studies reinforce on aother. In essence, lack of sleep can adversely affect health. A new study mentions that lack of sleep can increase the risk of diabetes, besides that it is also known that lack of sleep can cause obesity.

The study conducted by researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, USA, involved participants who were only allowed to sleep for about six hours at night. The result showed that those who sleep less and experience a shift in sleep-wake cycle have higher blood sugar levels and less”metabolic resting rate”. This term describes how fast the body burns calories to be converted into energy.

Increased blood sugar levels can cause diabetes. If diet and exercise is not done, low  resting metabolic rate can lead to obesity which in turn increases the risk of diabetes.

Previous research has shown that people who work on night shift or those who constantly have less sleep would have high levels of fat in the blood. “They also tend to be obese and are threatened with type 2 diabetes (diabetes due to lifestyle) and metabolic syndrome (a set of conditions associated with an increased risk of heart disease),” says Orfeu Buxton, head of research at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, according to healthday. Buxton’s previous study also showed that people who slept only five hours a day at night for a week have even greater risk of developing diabetes.

A recent study published in the Science Translational Medicine journal , Buxton  involved 21 healthy adult participants who were placed in a laboratory for nearly six weeks. Sleep cycle, diet, and activities of participants were all controlled by the researchers.

At the beginning of the study, they were given a normal bedtime, which is 10 hours a night. Then for three weeks participants were limited to sleep less than six hours, accompanied by disturbances in the body clock or their circadian rhythm. Sleep schedule is made similar to the rotation of night shift workers. At the end of a nine-day study, participants were given normal sleep time to recover their conditions.

During periods of sleep deprivation and disturbed circadian rhythm, resting metabolic rate of participants decreased, while blood sugar levels after eating increased, often reaching the levels that are considered as pre-diabetes. “This is because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin,” said Buxton who is also assistant professor in the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School. After a period of nine days, the metabolic abnormalities returned to normal.

From the research above we can see how sleep deprivation is a disorder that can cause some serious impact for the human health. Previous research even mentioned that sleep deprivation could cause stroke. Therefor it is very important to get enough rest at night.