The Link Between Sleep Loss and Diabetes

08/03/2015

Research has proven there’s a link between sleep loss and diabetes. Sleep deprived people feel tired. They end up eating more to compensate for low energy due to lack of sleep and can spike their blood sugar levels. People who experience poor sleep every day face bigger worries than daytime tiredness and crankiness. Sleep deprivation increases risk of chronic health problems, including type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Shortened sleep produces noticeable changes in the growth hormone, which can lead to an increase in flow of fatty acids. This results in a loss of the advantages of insulin. Insulin action in sleep deprived people resembles what we typically observe in the early stages of diabetes. Insulin’s job is to use glucose for energy. When the body is insulin resistant, the cells stop using the hormone efficiently, resulting in the blood sugar level spiking.

Sleep apnea and diabetes are also linked with each other. Sleep apnea can worsen the condition or augment the risk of developing diabetes. Excess weight causes fat deposits around the upper airway, leading to obstruction in breathing. So obesity is a major factor for both sleep loss and diabetes. Diabetics need to be extremely careful about their sleep because anything off their routine can make them feel fatigued or restless. Proper sleep is as vital as proper food intake. On average, we need sleep for 7.5 hours to 9 hours but it can vary depending on your circumstances.

Researchers further suggest a link between sleep loss and diabetes after discovering that after four hours of sleep for three nights, the levels of fatty acids in the blood stayed high from 4am to 9am. The ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels was reduced due to high levels of fatty acids. Plasma-free fatty acids are a vital source of energy for body tissues. The need for fatty acids goes up during a workout. This conserves glucose for utilization by the brain. But constantly high fatty acid levels in the blood are usually seen only in obese individuals, as well as those with type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

More than 9% of the population in the U.S., i.e. 29 million people, suffers from diabetes. Almost 8 million Americans are unaware they have this disorder. The major symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss and frequent urination, and can be diagnosed through a blood test. Lack of sleep disturbs the metabolism. Getting a standard eight hours sleep can reduce the risk of diabetes and obesity.

So, try and go to sleep early and wake up at the same time every day, since you now know sleep loss and diabetes are linked.

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