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Study links irregular sleep to diabetes and obesity

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

irregular sleep patterns

Story at-a-glance -

  • In a study of 2,003 men and women followed for a mean of six years, irregular sleep patterns increased the risk of metabolic syndrome by 23% for each one hour of sleep difference; chronic one-hour loss increased the risk by 27%
  • Metabolic syndrome may occur in up to three times more people than are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, placing the global burden at 25% and the U.S. estimate at 28.2%
  • Metabolic syndrome is characterized by three or more of these factors: a large waist circumference, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and/or high blood sugar, low high-density lipoproteins and high triglycerides
  • Sleep deprivation comes at a steep cost to individuals and communities, including low productivity, increased risk of accidents, drowsy driving, cardiovascular disease and an increased risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease
  • An appropriate amount of sleep for your age may help you attain your goal weight; consider reducing light and electromagnetic field pollution and incorporating some of my top tips to optimize sleep detailed in a previous article

Understanding the reasons we sleep has been a subject of study for years. Although scientists haven’t yet discovered all that occurs during sleep, there have been unique discoveries leading to a better understanding of cognitive and physical health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds 1 in 3 Americans doesn’t get enough sleep and note insufficient sleep is linked with a wide variety of health problems. For example, getting less than five hours of sleep each night may double your risk of heart disease or stroke. Researchers have also found a persistent link between sleep deprivation, weight gain and insulin resistance.


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