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Lack of Deep Sleep Raises Diabetes Risk
Date:1/3/2008

Three nights of interrupted slumber upsets young people's blood sugar levels, study finds

THURSDAY, Jan. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Failing to sleep deeply for just three nights running has the same negative effect on the body's ability to manage insulin as gaining 20 to 30 pounds, diabetes researchers report.

In fact, young adults who do not get enough deep sleep may be increasing their risk of type 2 diabetes, according to a study published Dec. 31 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

According to the researchers, three nights of interrupted sleep effectively gave people in their 20s the glucose and insulin metabolisms of people three times their age.

Previous studies have demonstrated that not getting enough hours of sleep affects the body's ability to manage blood sugar levels and appetite, increasing the risk of obesity and diabetes. This current study provides the first evidence linking poor sleep quality -- specifically the loss of deep or slow-wave sleep -- to increased diabetes risk, said the University of Chicago Medical Center research team.

"These findings demonstrate a clear role for slow-wave sleep in maintaining normal glucose control," lead author Dr. Esra Tasali, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Medical Center, said in a prepared statement. "A profound decrease in slow-wave sleep had an immediate and significant adverse effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance," Tasali said.

The researchers suggested that improving the quality of sleep, especially for people as they age or if they are obese, could be an important step in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers recruited five men and four women, all lean and healthy, who were between the ages of 20 and 31. The researchers first observed the participants for two nights of uninterrupted sleep, during which they slept for 8.5 hours, to establish their n
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