A recent study has found that “Less Sleep Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk in Women”
It was reported thatwomen who cut their sleep duration by only 90 minutes over six weeks showed increased insulin resistance. This is the first time that researchers have shown that a relatively modest period of sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on women’s health.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Columbia University, involved 38 healthy women who were accustomed to getting at least seven hours of sleep per 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 of 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 that their findings are important because they show that even a modest amount of sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on women’s health. They recommend that women aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about sleep deprivation and diabetes risk:
- Sleep deprivation can also lead to other health problems, such as obesity, heart disease, and stroke.
- The amount of sleep that people need varies, but most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
- There are a number of things that people can do to improve their sleep quality, such as establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bed.
More women than men report feeling sleep-deprived. While laboratory studies have shown that even brief periods of sleep deprivation can disrupt glucose metabolism, these studies don’t reflect the real-world experience of many people who consistently get less than the recommended amount of sleep.
To investigate the effects of chronic moderate sleep deprivation, researchers at Columbia University recruited 38 healthy women, including 11 postmenopausal women, who typically slept at least seven hours per night.
The participants were randomly assigned to one of two phases:
- Phase 1: Get at least seven hours of sleep per night for six weeks.
- Phase 2: Sleep for six hours per night for six weeks, achieved by delaying bedtime by 15 minutes.
Throughout the study, the researchers monitored the participants’ sleep duration using wearable devices and measured their body fat, insulin, and glucose levels.
The results showed that even a modest reduction in sleep duration had a significant impact on the women’s health. Compared to Phase 1, participants in Phase 2 experienced:
- A 12% increase in fasting insulin levels. This is a sign of insulin resistance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- A decrease in lean body mass and an increase in fat mass. This suggests that sleep deprivation may promote obesity.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Marie-Pierre St-Onge, stated that the findings “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 journal Diabetes Care.
Women’s diabetes and sleep
The study found that reducing sleep duration by ninety minutes for a period of six weeks increased fasting insulin levels in premenopausal women by over fifteen percent and in the general population by over twelve percent.
Insulin resistance increased by approximately 15%, and by more than 20% in women who had undergone menopause.
Every participant’s average blood sugar level remained constant throughout the trial.
According to St-Onge, prolonged, continuous stress on insulin-producing cells may be a factor in their eventual failure and the emergence of type 2 diabetes.
Despite the fact that lack of sleep is one of the main causes of insulin resistance, the researchers found that there was no increase in abdominal fat.
Key takeaways from the study:
- Cutting sleep by just 90 minutes per night for six weeks can increase insulin resistance in women.
- Sleep deprivation does not cause 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 than men to develop type 2 diabetes, and sleep deprivation may be one of the reasons for this.
What can women do to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes?
- Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per 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 checkups.
By taking these steps, women can help to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic health conditions.