The finding, based on a study performed at the University of Chicago sleep laboratory released early online by the journal Diabetes Care, could influence huge numbers of individuals who work longer hours.
Previous research study has actually recommended that getting simply 4-5 hours of sleep a night can increase type 2 diabetes risk by nearly 20 percent as much as obesity.
Sleeping More Hours Reduce Diabetes Risk
The researchers hired 19 volunteers, all healthy young men. On one event, they were permitted to sleep normally, spending at least 8.5 hours in bed for four nights. On another event, the very same volunteers were first sleep deprived, permitted only 4.5 hours in bed for 4 consecutive nights. They spent approximately of 4.3 of those hours of asleep per night. Consequently, they were allowed 2 nights of extended sleep, during which they averaged 9.7 hours of sleep.
“In this short-term study, we found that two long nights spent catching up on lost sleep can reverse the negative metabolic effects of four consecutive nights of restricted sleep,” said study author Josiane Broussard, PhD, now an assistant research professor in the Department of Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
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“In real life, you’d be losing sleep week in and week out, so we don’t know whether catch-up sleep can give you this kind of risk improvement in that context. But the best takeaway from this work is that at least in terms of diabetes risk, it seems that you’re not necessarily totally screwed if you experience sleep loss,” said Broussard.
To assess the impact of sleep on diabetes risk, Broussard and colleagues focused on what’s known as insulin sensitivity, or the body’s ability to use the hormone insulin to regulate blood sugar. Impaired insulin sensitivity is one risk factor for type 2 diabetes, which is associated with age and obesity and happens when the body can’t properly convert blood sugar into energy.
The researchers did two short sleep experiments. On one occasion, the volunteers were permitted just 4.5 hours of rest for four nights, followed by 2 nights of prolonged sleep that totalled up to 9.7 hours on average. On another event, the same men were allowed to sleep 8.5 hours for 4 nights.
After 4 nights of sleep deprivation, the volunteers’ insulin sensitivity level had fallen by 23% and their diabetes risk increased by 16%. However, when researchers examined again after two nights of prolonged sleep, the men’s insulin sensitivity, and the quantity of insulin their bodies produced, had gone back to normal sleep levels.
“The metabolic response to this extra sleep was very interesting and encouraging,” stated by senior author Esra Tasali, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “It shows that young, healthy people who sporadically fail to get sufficient sleep during the work week can reduce their diabetes risk if they catch up on sleep during the weekend.”
“Though this is evidence that weekend catch-up sleep may help someone recover from a sleep-deprived week,” Broussard said, “this was not a long-term study and our subjects went through this process only once. Going forward we intend to study the effects of extended weekend sleep schedules in people who repeatedly curtail their weekday sleep.”
Sleep Deprivation Health Problems
Chronically sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to develop other health issues, such as obesity, hypertension and increased inflammation.
They also reveal cognitive issues, tend to be less alert and have trouble focusing, reasoning and solving problems. They are vulnerable to traffic accidents. The benefit of more weekend sleep on adverse health and safety outcomes remains to be determined.