29 September 2012

Teens Getting Seven Hours Of Sleep Improves Insulin Resistance By 9%

Insulin resistance happens when the body does not respond to its own produced insulin. This form of diabetes is known as Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes, on the other hand, is close to an autoimmune disease where the beta-cells producing the insulin are attacked by the body's own immune system.

In both cases of diabetes, insulin is a major factor. Insulin is a hormone and is important to the human body as it helps regulate blood sugar (glucose). It also assists in either using or storing the glucose derived from food.

Aside from regulating glucose levels, insulin also helps in regulating the carbohydrate and fat metabolism of the body. Without insulin, glucose levels can rise which can be toxic to the body. This is condition is called hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can damage nerves, blood vessels, and other body organs.

To prevent hyperglycemia, diabetics constantly monitor their blood glucose levels.

There are 2 types of diabetes, these are Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Over 95% of diabetes cases are Type 2 diabetes. The reason being is that Type 1 is primarily a hereditary disease. A Type 1 diabetic is most likely to have acquired it from his or her parent's genes.

There is no cure for diabetes. It can be safely regulated through glucose monitoring, insulin shots, and proper diet and exercise.

Lack of sleep leads to insulin resistance in teens

A new study suggests that increasing the amount of sleep that teenagers get could improve their insulin resistance and prevent the future onset of diabetes.

"High levels of insulin resistance can lead to the development of diabetes," said lead author Karen Matthews, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry. "We found that if teens that normally get six hours of sleep per night get one extra hour of sleep, they would improve insulin resistance by 9 percent."

Video: Insulin Resistance

The study, appearing in the October issue of the journal SLEEP, tracked the sleep duration and insulin resistance levels of 245 healthy high school students. Participants provided a fasting blood draw, and they kept a sleep log and wore a wrist actigraph for one week during the school year. Sleep duration based on actigraphy averaged 6.4 hours over the week, with school days significantly lower than weekends.

Results show that higher insulin resistance is associated with shorter sleep duration independent of race, age, gender, waist circumference, and body mass index. According to Matthews, the study is the only one in healthy adolescents that shows a relationship between shorter sleep and insulin resistance that is independent of obesity.

The authors concluded that interventions to promote metabolic health in adolescence should include efforts to extend nightly sleep duration. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that most teens need a little more than nine hours of sleep each night.


American Academy of Sleep Medicine
University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry
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