Could that little extra sleep help prevent diabetes?

Finally, a legitimate excuse to avoid dragging yourself out of bed early on a Saturday and Sunday morning! A weekend lie-in is more than lazy indulgence and could be vital for well-being, finds a new study.

According to experts, the additional hour or two of sleep in the morning after a period of chronic partial sleep loss may be vital to keep diabetes at bay.

Tests on volunteers showed that three nights of “catch-up” sleep improved the body’s insulin response and helped to clear sugar from the bloodstream.

The findings will be welcome by all those lucky enough to be able to enjoy an extra hour or two of slumber on Saturdays and Sundays.

Dr Peter Liu, from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute in the US, who led the latest work, said, “We all know we need to get adequate sleep, but that is often impossible because of work demands and busy lifestyles. Our study found extending the hours of sleep can improve the body’s use of insulin, thereby reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in adult men.”

Link between lost sleep and diabetes risk assessed
In a bid to determine whether catching up on lost sleep cuts diabetes’ risk, the researchers conducted a study. They monitored 19 healthy non-diabetic men, with an average age of 29, who complained of inadequate shut eye.

On an average the volunteers were sleeping no more than 6.2 hours on weeknights for more than five years. However, they increased their sleep on the weekends by 37.4 percent, or 2.3 hours per night.

For the purpose of the study, the men spent three consecutive nights in a sleep lab on two separate weekends. Blood samples were taken from the men after the weekend lie-ins and their normal weekday sleeps.

Tests revealed that adequate recovery-sleep duration increased insulin sensitivity and enhanced scores for insulin resistance.

“The good news is that by extending the hours they sleep, adult men who over a long period of time do not get enough sleep during the working week, can still improve their insulin sensitivity,” said Dr Liu.

The findings of the research were presented at the Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco Tuesday.

Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease marked by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is the most common form of diabetes. The disease occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to properly regulate blood sugar levels.

Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in the blood. Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious problems such as damage to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease and stroke. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, called gestational diabetes.

Common symptoms of the disease include fatigue, thirst, weight loss, blurred vision, and frequent urination. A simple blood test can reveal if one is diabetic. Exercise, weight control, and adherence to a healthy meal plan can help control the disease. There is need to constantly monitor glucose level and take medicine if prescribed.

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