More research has investigated how sleep can impact the development of type 2 diabetes.
A team from Japan say losing a night’s sleep could affect the liver’s function when it comes to producing and processing sugar, which may increase the chances of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
For years, scientists have reported getting interrupted or poor quality sleep can raise type 2 diabetes risk. But in this study, researchers from the Toho University Graduate School of Medicine wanted to investigate the underlying mechanisms of sleep deprivation, and how this may cause glucose intolerance.
The trial involved monitoring mice by keeping half of the animals awake for six hours at night and letting the other half sleep. Both groups were offered unlimited high-calorie food and sugar water and were given limited exercise opportunities.
Once the study period concluded, each mouse had their glucose levels and liver fat content measured. They found blood sugar levels were higher in the group of animals who had been deprived of sleep, compared to the animals that were permitted to rest.
They also saw a change in liver function after just one night of sleep deprivation. Resisting sleep patterns also changed the enzyme patterns needed to regulate the liver’s metabolism.
The study indicates that there is at least a short-term effect in mice in terms of increasing insulin resistance and how the liver functions.
The researchers are now keen to see more research devoted to the effects of sleep on health. This could include studies on humans and research to assess longer-term effects of sleep deprivation on the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The results of the study have been published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.
Getting good sleep is important to lower the risk of diabetes and also improve existing diabetes management. Read our Sleep guide for tips on improving your sleep quality and how this can help your blood sugar control.