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Getting Too Much Or Too Little Sleep Increases Diabetes Risks On Men

First Posted: Jul 01, 2016 10:04 AM EDT

It has been known that getting too much or too little sleep can have a negative effect on a person's overall health. Now, a recent study unraveled a sleep-health link that apparently only applies to men: too much or too little sleep can increase the risk of developing diabetes.

According to news-medical.net, the Endocrine Society's Endocrine Facts and Figures Report said that there are more than 29 million people nationwide who are diagnosed of having diabetes. In the last 50 years, people have reported that the average sleep duration for each person has decreased by 1.5 to 2 hours. Femke Rutters, PhD, of the VU Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and the senior author of the study, the incidence of diabetes has also doubled the same time this happened.

"In a group of nearly 800 healthy people, we observed sex-specific relationships between sleep duration and glucose metabolism," said Rutters. "In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future. In women, no such association was observed."

Medical Daily reported that for the study, the researchers examined 788 subjects who were among the European Relationship between Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular Disease study that measured the length of sleep and diabetes risk factors.

All the subjects were between the ages 30 and 60 from 19 different European countries. The researchers used a single-axis accelerometer, which tracks the movement, and measured the subjects' sleeping hours and the level of their physical activity. The researchers then compared their observation to the risk of diabetes, which they measured using a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, a device that identifies how well the body metabolizes glucose, as well as a person's sensitivity to insulin.

The findings showed that men who had an average sleep time of 7 hours a night had better glucose metabolism than those men who slept fewer or more than 7 hours a night. It was also found that men who slept fewer or more than 7 hours every night had higher blood sugar levels than those who slept an average of 7 hours. Medical News Today reported.

"In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future," explained Rutters.

However, the team reported that there were no associations of that kind identified among women.

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