SLEEPING more could be good for your health and help prevent obesity and diabetes.
A study published yesterday in the Lancet Journal of Diabetes and Endocrinology showed that people who had interrupted sleep or insufficient rest had a higher risk of obesity or diabetes.
The researchers from Switzerland and Germany analysed a range of studies, which linked sleep loss to health problems.
The study called “The Metabolic Burden of Sleep Loss” showed there was growing evidence to link a shortage of sleep to the body not being able to regulate food intake and blood sugar correctly.
This means the sleep-deprived person is more likely to be overweight or develop type-two diabetes, which puts them at risk of long-term health problems and early death.
Lack of sleep, common in modern times, was another factor that led to the obesity epidemic, argued the authors. The scientists blamed the use of tablet computers, and portable gaming devices for people going to bed too late.
They referred to studies that show sleeping for only five or six hours a night was linked to people eating too much, and having a bigger appetite.
Shift work and irregular sleeping patterns are also linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. The article referred to a study of 1811 airline staff, who were two times more likely to be overweight than staff who had ordinary daytime working hours.
An analysis of 26463 Chinese workers found that those who worked shifts were more likely to suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes.
According to the study: “These findings suggest that shift work and resulting sleep problems exert a long-lasting adverse effect on metabolic health.”
The authors conceded it was not yet known exactly how lack of sleep caused obesity or diabetes but they said there was sufficient evidence to show sleep could be used in the prevention and treatment of diabetes. – Katharine Child