Can sleep trouble cause diabetes?
U. OF C. STUDY Volunteers who were roused needed more insulin
January 1, 2008
BY JIM RITTER Health Reporteremail@example.com
Researchers have identified a possible new risk factor for diabetes: not getting a good night's sleep.
In a small study, University of Chicago researchers tested the theory on nine healthy young adults in a sleep lab.
For three nights, researchers prevented volunteers from getting the deepest and most restorative type of sleep.
Afterward, volunteers' bodies did not use insulin as well as before: they needed more insulin to dispose of the same amount of a sugar solution.
This reduced insulin sensitivity was comparable to the effect of gaining 20 or 30 pounds.
Earlier studies found that not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.
The U. of C. study is the first to suggest that not getting the right kind of sleep also could increase diabetes risk.
The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Researchers monitored volunteers' brain waves. As soon as volunteers started to enter deep "slow-wave" sleep, researchers sounded acoustic tones. If that didn't rouse volunteers, researchers spoke their names over the intercom or gently nudged them. Sleep was disrupted 250 to 300 times a night.
Volunteers typically had vague memories of hearing noises only three or four times. But they woke up feeling tired and cranky.
Volunteers were aged 20 to 31. But they slept like they were 40 years older. People in their 20s typically get 80 to 100 minutes of slow-wave sleep, while those over age 60 get less than 20 minutes.
If you're spending an adequate amount of time sleeping, but still wake up tired, you might not be getting enough slow-wave sleep. This often happens to people with obstructive sleep apnea.
Obesity and aging are two big risk factors for diabetes. Obesity and aging also reduce sleep quality, further increasing the risk of diabetes, researchers said.