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Not Getting Enough Sleep May Significantly Increase Your Risk for Diabetes

New findings presented at the Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention in Palm Harbor, Florida (March 2009) showed that people who get fewer than six hours of sleep at night are prone to abnormal blood sugar levels, putting them at higher risk of developing diabetes.

A group of U.S. researchers used data from a six year study involving 1,455 participants who were diabetes free. The study, known as the Western New York Study, was designed to investigate the relationship between alcohol consumption and cardiovascular disease risk.

After reviewing the data from that trial, researchers identified a small subset of participants who met their study requirements.

They found 91 participants whose blood sugar levels rose during the six year study and compared them with up to three controls who were individually matched based on age, gender, race and glucose measurements at baseline.

After adjusting for a number of outside factors like age, obesity, high blood pressure, family history of diabetes the researchers found that individuals who got less than 6 hours of sleep nightly were almost 5 times more likely to develop abnormal blood sugar levels.

The study found no difference in glucose levels or increased diabetes risk among individuals with more than six hours of sleep a night, supporting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults.

Beyond the possible increase in diabetes risk, lack of sleep has also been shown to have other potentially negative affects including high blood pressure, increased stroke risk, increased risk of depression and a general decrease in alertness.
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