A recent study found that “less sleep is associated with an increased risk of diabetes in women.”
It was reported that women who reduced their sleep duration by just 90 minutes over six weeks showed increased insulin resistance. This is the first time that researchers shown that relatively minor sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on women’s health.
The study, conducted by researchers at Columbia University, involved 38 healthy women who were used to sleeping at least seven hours a night. The researchers found that when the women reduced their sleep duration to 6 hours and 15 minutes per night for six weeks, their fasting insulin levels increased by over 12%. This is a sign of insulin resistance, which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The Effect Sleep deprivation was even more pronounced in postmenopausal women. Their fasting insulin levels increased by over 15% when they reduced their sleep duration by 90 minutes.
The researchers say their findings are important because they show that even minor sleep deprivation can have negative effects on women’s health. They recommend women aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Here are some additional things to consider regarding lack of sleep and diabetes risk:
- Lack of sleep can also lead to other health problems such as obesity, heart disease and stroke.
- The amount of sleep people need varies, but most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
- There are a number of things people can do to improve their sleep quality, such as: Such as setting a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxed bedtime routine, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed.
More women than men report lack of sleep. While laboratory studies have shown that even short periods of sleep deprivation can disrupt glucose metabolism, these studies do not reflect the real-world experience of many people who consistently get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
To study the effects of chronic moderate sleep loss, researchers at Columbia University recruited 38 healthy women, including 11 postmenopausal women, who typically slept at least seven hours a night.
Participants were randomly assigned to one of two phases:
- Phase 1: Sleep at least seven hours a night for six weeks.
- Phase 2: Sleep six hours a night for six weeks by delaying your bedtime by 15 minutes.
Throughout the study, researchers monitored participants’ sleep duration using wearable devices and measured their body fat, insulin and glucose levels.
The results showed that even a small reduction in sleep duration had a significant impact on women’s health. Compared to Phase 1, participants in Phase 2 experienced the following:
- A 12% increase in fasting insulin levels. This is a sign of insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- A decrease in muscle mass and an increase in fat mass. This suggests that lack of sleep can promote obesity.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, explained that the results “highlight the importance of getting enough sleep, especially for women.”She added that the study “provides a biological explanation for the increased risk of type 2 diabetes in women.”“
The study was published in the scientific journal Diabetes treatment.
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Diabetes and sleep in women
The study found that reducing sleep duration by ninety minutes over a six-week period increased fasting insulin levels by over fifteen percent in premenopausal women and by over twelve percent in the general population.
Insulin resistance increased by about 15% and in menopausal women by more than 20%.
Each participant’s average blood sugar level remained constant throughout the experiment.
According to St-Onge, prolonged, sustained stress on insulin-producing cells may be a factor in their eventual failure and the development of type 2 diabetes.
Although lack of sleep is a leading cause of insulin resistance, the researchers found that there was no increase in belly fat.
Key findings from the study:
- Reducing sleep by just 90 minutes per night for six weeks can increase insulin resistance in women.
- Sleep deprivation does not lead to an increase in abdominal fat, but it can lead to a loss of lean body mass, which can also increase insulin resistance.
- Women are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men, and lack of sleep can be one of the reasons for this.
What can women do to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes?
- Try to sleep at least seven hours a night.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
- See your doctor for regular check-ups.
By taking these steps, Women can help reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.
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