Sleep deprivation carries with it both short- and long-term health consequences. Losing out on as little as 30 minutes of sleep per day on weekdays may have long-term consequences for body weight and metabolism. Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in Doha, revealed that it may promote weight gain and adversely affect blood sugar control.
Dr. Shahrad Taheri, professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, in Doha, and lead study author of this study said, "While previous studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with obesity and diabetes, we found that as little as 30 minutes a day sleep debt could have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance at follow up."
Researchers recruited 522 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus and randomized them into one of three groups i.e. usual care, physical activity intervention, or diet and physical activity intervention. Participants completed seven-day sleep diaries and calculated their weekday sleep debt and at baseline, the researchers recorded their height and weight to determine obesity status, measured their waist circumference for central adiposity, and analyzed their fasting blood samples for insulin sensitivity.
At baseline, compared with participants who had no weekday sleep debt, those who had weekday sleep debt were 72% more likely to be obese, and by the six-month mark, weekday sleep debt was significantly associated with obesity and insulin resistance and at 12 months, for every 30 minutes of weekday sleep debt at baseline, the risk of obesity and insulin resistance was significantly increased by 17% and 39%, respectively.
The researchers advised that future interventions designed to slow progression or reverse metabolic disease should consider all factors including sleep that affect metabolic function.