Poor Night’s Sleep Changes Insulin Levels

Just one night of sleep deprivation is enough to throw off your body’s blood sugar levels.  While Americans’ average number of hours slept continues to decrease, new research reveals that even a single evening of inadequate sleep time can elicit insulin resistance in healthy individuals.  Although the negative effects of chronic sleep deprivation on insulin resistance were previously documented, a team of Dutch researchers found that even one night without sufficient sleep has an impact on insulin levels. 

These researchers selected nine healthy adults who average between six and nine hours of sleep per night. Each subject spent two nights under examination: one in which a full night of sleep was permitted, and a second when only four hours of sleep were allowed. On the night of only four hours of sleep, the subjects’ were instructed to stay in bed, but either read or watched a movie. The participants remained lying in bed while awake to ensure that fewer hours of sleep was the only significant variable from the previous night.  After each night, the scientists drew blood samples from their subjects in order to determine their insulin levels.

The data collected reveals “partial sleep restriction during only a single night reduces insulin sensitivity by 19-25%,” therefore emphasizing the importance of attaining at least seven hours of sleep every night.  This finding amplifies the previous discovery that people who habitually sleep fewer than six hours a night are 4.5 times more likely to elevate irregular blood sugar levels. Coupled with the findings in the new study, the researchers suspect that regular nights of significant sleep could be a key in managing diabetes. The researchers admit that further, targeted research will be necessary to confirm this hypothesis.

People, particularly those at risk for developing diabetes, need to get a quality night of sleep each and every night.  If you are having trouble getting at least seven hours per night, consult these tips to achieve a better night of sleep.

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1 Comment

  • I know I'm totally gonna get slammed for this but when you are tired, nicotine works really well to wake you up. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating smoking. But take a look at the e-cig for a safe way to get a quick nicotine fix.

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