Diabetes and the Importance of Sleep
To paraphrase the old Cole Porter love song: Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let's do it, let's . . . sleep?
"Sleep is a biological imperative," says Stuart Quan, M.D., a Harvard Medical School professor of sleep medicine and editor of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. "You can't not sleep," he says.
Virtually all animals sleep. Fruit flies have been shown to have sleep cycles, and even sea sponges have sleeplike periods, Quan says. While experts have different theories on why we sleep, it's well proven that getting too little has serious consequences for your health and diabetes. Shorting yourself on shut-eye can worsen diabetes and, for some people, even serve as the trigger that causes it.
People who don't sleep enough may:
-- impair the body's use of insulin.
-- have higher levels of hormones that cause hunger.
-- crave junk food.
No snooze, you lose
People who don't get enough sleep often have higher levels of chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. Lack of sleep also can increase production of cortisol (the body's primary stress hormone), impair memory and reflex time, elevate blood sugar, and increase appetite -- ultimately promoting weight gain, says Carol Touma, M.D., an endocrinologist at the University of Chicago who focuses on sleep research and metabolism.
And the more you weigh, the worse you sleep. Research by Madhu H. Rao, M.D., an endocrinologist at the University of California, San Francisco, found that a person's body mass index (BMI) affects slow-wave sleep, the deep sleep cycles needed for maximum rest. Very preliminary re Continue reading