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Lack of Sleep Linked to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes


New research shows that a lack of sleep has the potential to lead to increased levels of substances called free fatty acids in the blood. These substances are harmful because they interfere with how well insulin can control blood sugar levels. Dr. Esra Tasali, in a University of Chicago news release, said that there have been multiple studies in the past that have confirmed the relationship between lack of sleep, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.

The Study

The study was conducted with 19 diabetes-free healthy men, between the ages of 18 and 30. They participated in two different situations. In the first one, they got a full night’s sleep (about 8 hours) for four nights. In the other scenario, they got just over four hours of sleep a night. After a few consecutive nights of getting too little sleep, the participants’ levels of fatty acids in their blood increased and stayed high for about five hours. When these levels were high, the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar levels was impaired.


To explain the results of this study, lead author Josiane Broussard says “The result was a significant loss of the benefits of insulin. This crucial hormone was less able to do its job. Insulin action in these healthy young men resembled what we typically see in early stages of diabetes.” These findings suggest that something as simple as getting a bit more sleep each night can reduce the occurrence of diabetes among the population.

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