Sleep versus glucose metabolism


Epidemiologists have graphically demonstrated the stark decline in average nightly sleep duration for Americans over the last few generations, in 1950 – 8.5 hours, in 1970 – 7.5 hours – in 2000 – 6.25 hours, and so on.The Centre for disease control (CDC) reports that 30 percent of adults admit to less than 6 hours of sleep a night. The myth of getting by with less sleep to get ahead has been around only a short time though, since the early 1900s. TheThe phenomena of sleep is both loved and hated by the modern American. Look at many of the common catch phrases that have beenIn vogue:

“Sleep is a luxury I can’t afford.”

“I can sleep when I am dead.”

Some medical researchers have found a connection with increase in autoimmune disorders, in part due to the lack of opportunity to restore one’s health through sufficient sleep. From stripped brain fuel, to increased pain perception, to lower bone density, to a reduction in natural killer cells, to an increase in blood pressure and an increase in inflammation, we now know that a lack of sleep has profound effects on your immune system – even if you’re able to be awake and function.

Sleep Deprivation and Glucose Metabolism

Current data point to three pathways that link sleep restriction with diabetes risk and obesity:

1. alterations in glucose metabolism;

2. upregulation of appetite;

3. decreased energy expenditure.

The source is from

The article reads as below: There is more to it. I have picked up a part relevant to “glucose metabolism” Those who are interested can read this. .and visit the web site.

The role of sleep in glucose regulation has been recognized for over a decade. Initial studies on sleep curtailment were experimentally testing short periods of total sleep restriction. These studies found that despite significant negative metabolic derangements in hormone and glucose utilization that given the opportunity to have recovery sleep, these derangements were quickly reversed. The human physiology tolerates one night of total sleep restriction well…given the opportunity to catch up. But the more relevant experiments are the ones that test the effect of partial sleep restriction over several days or longer.

The mechanisms affecting glucose metabolism following recurrent partial sleep restriction are believed to be multifactorial. The acute reduction in insulin release could be due to increased sympathetic nervous activity at the level of the pancreatic beta-cell. Cardiac sympatho-vagal (this is the balance between the rest/digest and the fight/or flight autonomic nervous system) balance is affected, as evidenced by reduced heart rate variability when sleep is restricted. Secretion of counter-regulatory hormones, Growth Hormone and cortisol, may contribute to the alterations in glucose regulation noted during sleep loss. Subjects tested during the peak of sleep loss were found to take 40 percent longer than normal to regulate blood glucose levels, and the ability to secrete insulin decreased by approximately 30 percent.

The imbalance of catabolic (biochemical reactions that break down molecules in metabolism) and anabolic (biochemical reactions that stimulate protein synthesis and muscle growth, and insulin) hormones leads to a dysregulation of the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus where there is opposing sets of neurons, appetite stimulating and appetite inhibiting.

Epidemiological data show an association between short sleep and irregular eating habits, snacking between meals, excessive food seasoning and reduced consumption of vegetables. The Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study found evidence that sleep loss may alter the ability of leptin and ghrelin to accurately signal caloric need. This imbalance produces an internal perception of insufficient energy availability despite an increase in caloric intake. Dr. Carol Everson found in rats that were subjected to sleep restriction for 10 days a persistent 20 percent increase in food intake, despite the opportunity for recovery sleep.

The Nurse’s Health Study followed 80,000 women observed an association between sleep duration and Body Mass Index (BMI) where the lowest mean BMI was observed among those nurses reporting sleep in 7-8 hours a night. Recent research was performed on healthy controls that comprised 12 months of 30 minutes of sleep restriction per night. This cumulative sleep debt resulted in increased adipose tissue and insulin resistance. The study results extrapolated that this mild sleep debt increased the risk of obesity by 72% [15].

It’s important to emphasize here that cumulative lack of sleep is the issue, and it’s a serious issue when it comes to blood sugar control, appetite and fat loss.

6 Replies

  • Losing 30 minutes of can cause weight gain and adversely affect blood sugar:

  • I am type II diabetics for the last 20'years. I am having disturbed sleep during night. I have sound sleep in the afternoon . My total sleep during night is about four to five hrs. My blood sugar is around 100.

  • are you over weight?

  • Sleep Deprivation can cause Obesity

    is a well accepted fact.

  • Is it an additional factor to over eating habits to cause obesity?

  • i think both are very much different mechanisms.

    the overeating case is self evident.

    but the deprived sleep is a case of lot of hormonal imbalances.

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