Scientists Identify a Link Between Sleep And Type 2 Diabetes Risk : ScienceAlert

Not getting enough sleep is a common problem in the modern era. If you don’t always get as many hours of sleep as you’d like, you may have been concerned by the news of a recent study that found people who sleep less than six hours a night are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. 2.

So what can we make of these results? It turns out that the relationship between sleep and diabetes is complex.

The study

The researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank, a large biomedical database that serves as a global resource for health and medical research. They looked at information from 247,867 adults, tracking their health for more than a decade.

The researchers wanted to understand the associations between sleep duration and type 2 diabetes, and whether a healthy diet reduced the effects of short sleep on diabetes risk.

As part of their participation in the UK Biobank, participants were asked how much sleep they got in 24 hours. Seven to eight hours was average and considered normal sleep. Short sleep duration was divided into three categories: light (six hours), moderate (five hours), and extreme (three to four hours). The researchers analyzed sleep data as well as information about people’s diet.

Some 3.2 percent of participants were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the follow-up period. Although healthy eating habits are associated with lower overall diabetes risk, when people ate healthily but slept less than six hours per day, their risk of type 2 diabetes increased compared to people in the normal sleep category. .

Researchers found that five hours of sleep duration was associated with a 16% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while the risk for people sleeping three to four hours was 41% higher than that of people sleeping seven to eight hours.

One limitation is that the study defined a healthy diet based on the number of servings of fruits, vegetables, red meat and fish a person consumes in a day or week. In doing so, the study did not take into account how dietary habits such as time-restricted eating or the Mediterranean diet may change the risk of diabetes in those who sleep less.

Additionally, information on participants’ sleep amount and diet was only collected at recruitment and may have changed during the study. The authors acknowledge these limitations.

Why might short sleep increase the risk of diabetes?

In people with type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to the effects of a hormone called insulin and slowly loses the ability to produce enough of it in the pancreas. Insulin is important because it regulates the glucose (sugar) in our blood that comes from the foods we eat by helping to move it to cells throughout the body.

We don’t know the precise reasons why people who sleep less are at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. But previous research has shown that sleep-deprived people often have an increase in inflammatory markers and free fatty acids in their body. their blood, which impairs insulin sensitivity, leading to insulin resistance. This means the body has difficulty using insulin properly to regulate blood sugar, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, people who don’t get enough sleep, as well as those who sleep irregularly (like shift workers), experience disruptions to their body’s natural rhythm, called the circadian rhythm.

This can interfere with the release of hormones like cortisol, glucagon, and growth hormones. These hormones are released throughout the day to meet the body’s changing energy needs and maintain well-balanced blood sugar levels normally. If they are compromised, it can reduce the body’s ability to handle glucose as the day progresses.

These and other factors may contribute to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes seen in people who sleep less than six hours.

Although this study primarily focused on people who sleep eight hours or less, it’s possible that longer sleepers also face an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Research has previously shown a U-shaped correlation between sleep duration and type 2 diabetes risk. A review of several studies found that sleeping between seven and eight hours a day was associated with the lowest risk. When people slept less than seven hours or more than eight hours, the risk began to increase.

The reason sleeping longer is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes may be related to weight gain, which is also correlated with longer sleep. Likewise, people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese.

Good sleep, healthy diet

Getting enough sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Based on this study and other evidence, it seems that when it comes to diabetes risk, seven to eight hours of sleep might be the sweet spot. However, other factors could influence the relationship between sleep duration and diabetes risk, such as individual differences in sleep quality and lifestyle.

Although the results of this study question whether a healthy diet can mitigate the effects of sleep deprivation on diabetes risk, a wide body of evidence highlights the benefits of a healthy diet for overall health.

The study authors acknowledge that it is not always possible to get enough sleep and suggest that doing high-intensity interval exercise during the day could offset some of the potential effects of short sleep on diabetes risk.

In fact, exercise, regardless of intensity, can improve blood sugar levels.

Giuliana Murfet, Occasional Academic, Faculty of Health, University of Technology Sydney and ShanShan Lin, Senior Lecturer, School of Public Health, University of Technology Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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