Extra Sleep on Weekends May Reduce Diabetes Risk
Getting a few more hours of sleep on the weekend may actually help fight off diabetes, according to a short-term study performed at the University of Chicago sleep laboratory.
Previous studies have shown that sleeping seven to eight hours a night resulted in the lowest risk of developing type 2 diabetes, whereas longer and shorter sleep durations were both associated with a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
This trial altered the sleeping schedules of 19 healthy male volunteers. For the first session, the group was allowed to sleep 8.5 hours a night for four nights. During the second session, the members of the group were allowed to sleep for only 4.5 hours per night for four nights.
Following the deprived nights’ sleep, the participants were allowed two nights of extended sleep. During this catch-up sleep, they averaged 9.7 hours per night. The volunteers were monitored for insulin sensitivity and other indicators of diabetes risk.
After four nights of sleep deprivation, insulin sensitivity dropped by 23 percent, and their risk of diabetes increased by 16 percent. After two nights of extended sleep, however, both parameters returned to normal.
The authors are quick to note that this is by no means a conclusive study. The research was carried out on a small sample of healthy, lean males, and the new sleep regime was only enforced for the equivalent of one working week. Additionally, the study group had a controlled diet, whereas people who are chronically sleep deprived tend to preferentially consume high-fat and high-sugar foods.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 29.1 million Americans have type 2 diabetes.
Don’t miss this week’s Slice of History: Prohibition Kicks In.