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"Disrupted Internal 24-hour Clock, Less Sleep, Means Higher Risk of Diabetes and Obesity"

April 11, 2012



A study published in Science Translational Medicine on April 11, 2012, by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital found that not getting enough sleep, or not getting it when your body needs it may lead to increased risk of diabetes and obesity.

21 participants spent about six weeks in a sleep lab where researchers completely controlled the participants' environment, how much they could sleep, and their diets. At first participants could sleep for 10 hours per night, followed by three weeks of a more restrictive and varied schedule of 5.6 hours of sleep per 24 hour period. Sleep periods occurred at all different times of day simulating that of a rotating shift workers' schedule in which sleep opportunities are short and often occur during unusual times according to the body's internal clock. During this schedule, researchers saw a decrease in participants' resting metabolic rate and increased glucose level after meals because of poor insulin secretion, conditions that can lead to weight gain and diabetes over time. The study's authors believe that these results highlight the importance of proper sleep for health.

Related Links
View the abstract in Science Translational Medicine
LA Times: "Disrupted, insufficient sleep could lead to diabetes risk"
The Boston Globe: "How short, disrupted sleep increases risk of diabetes, obesity"
US News Health: "Disrupted Sleep May Raise Risk for Obesity, Diabetes: Study"


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