THURSDAY, May 6, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Adding to the many reasons why people should get adequate sleep, researchers now say that just one sleepless night can cause insulin resistance, a component of type 2 diabetes.
The study included nine healthy people whose insulin sensitivity was measured after a night of normal sleep (about eight hours) and after a night of four hours of sleep.
"Our data indicate that insulin sensitivity is not fixed in healthy subjects, but depends on the duration of sleep in the preceding night," lead author Dr. Esther Donga, of the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands, said in a news release from The Endocrine Society. "In fact, it is tempting to speculate that the negative effects of multiple nights of shortened sleep on glucose tolerance can be reproduced, at least in part, by just one sleepless night."
The study will be published in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
"Sleep duration has shortened considerably in western societies in the past decade and simultaneously, there has been an increase in the prevalence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes," Donga said. "The co-occurring rises in shortened sleep and diabetes prevalence may not be a coincidence. Our findings show a short night of sleep has more profound effects on metabolic regulation than previously appreciated."
Further research is needed to determine if treatments that improve sleep duration may help stabilize glucose levels in people with diabetes, she added.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more about type 2 diabetes.