Losing sleep puts women at greater risk of diabetes, warns a new study.
Researchers found that shortening sleep by just 90 minutes for six weeks increased insulin resistance in women who are accustomed to getting adequate sleep.
The effect was even more pronounced in postmenopausal women.
The findings are the first to show that a mild sleep deficit causes changes in the body that raise the risk of developing diabetes in women.
Women in particular were studied because poor sleep may have a greater impact on women’s cardiometabolic health than men’s.
Previous studies exclusively looked at men with very severe sleep restriction over a short period of time.
Professor Marie-Pierre St-Onge from Columbia University said: “Throughout their lifespan, women face many changes in their sleep habits due to childbearing, child-rearing, and menopause. And more women than men have the perception they aren’t getting enough sleep.
“Over a longer period of time, ongoing stress on insulin-producing cells could cause them to fail, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.”
Professor St-Onge added: “The fact that we saw these results independent of any changes in body fat, which is a known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, speaks to the impact of mild sleep reduction on insulin-producing cells and metabolism.
“The bottom line is that getting adequate sleep each night may lead to better blood sugar control and reduced risk for type 2 diabetes, especially among postmenopausal women.”
To get these results researchers studied 38 healthy women, including 11 postmenopausal women, who routinely slept at least seven hours each night.
They then were required to shorten their night’s sleep to around six hours for six weeks.
The participants were monitored with wearable devices and the researchers measured their insulin, glucose, and body fat.
After the six weeks, results showed fasting insulin levels were increased by over 12 percent overall and by more than 15 percent among premenopausal women.
Insulin resistance increased by nearly 15 percent overall and by more than 20 percent among postmenopausal women.
These results were published in the journal Diabetes care.
Other studies have suggested that those with varying sleep patterns are also at higher risk of developing diabetes, which is to be looked into further by the team.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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