Get Enough Sleep to Avoid Diabetes

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March 08, 2003 | 39,937 views

Over time, sleepingfive hours or less or nine hours or more each night may increaseyour risk of developing diabetes.

After followingmore than 70,000 diabetes-free women for a 10-year period,researchers found that women who slept five hours or lessevery night were 34 percent more likely to develop diabetessymptoms than women who slept for seven or eight hours eachnight.

Comparatively,women who slept nine hours or more each night were 35 percentmore likely to develop diabetes symptoms.

During the courseof the study, which began in 1986, 1,969 women developed diabetesand most showed symptoms of the condition.

Researchers werenot certain why sleeping too much or too little might be linkedto diabetes, though one theory involves leptin, a hormonethat may play a role in signaling the body to stop eating.

Too little sleepmay reduce levels of leptin, possibly causing people to gainweight and develop diabetes. When researchers removed factorssuch as overweight and obesity, too little sleep was not linkedto diabetes, which suggests that sleep may indirectly affectdiabetes by promoting weight gain.

One theory whytoo much sleep may increase diabetes risk is that people whosleep a lot tend to have poorer health in general. They mayalso have sleep apnea, a condition that may prevent restfulsleep and cause people to sleep more overall due to feelingtired. Independently, sleep apnea may also increase diabetesrisk.

DiabetesCare February, 2003;26:380-4

As I said twoyears ago:

In this countrywe have an epidemic of people who are not sleeping enough.The average American is only getting seven hours of sleep,and I am afraid I fall right in with the average in this department.

Prior to theinvention of the electric light bulb, which has allowed usto transform night into day, people were sleeping NINE hoursper night. While there are many benefits of electric light,constantly neglecting our sleeping needs poses a huge riskto our health.

If you are interestedin finding more information on this fascinating subject youcan look into LightsOut: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T. S. Wiley and BentFormby. Nearly one-third of the book is references to peer-reviewedliterature, so it is very carefully documented.

The authorsbelieve that it is light, not what we eat or whether we exercise,that causes obesity--and diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

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