New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sleep deprivation may limit fat cells’ ability to respond to insulin.
The study consisted of 14 individuals, half men and half women, who were in good health and spent eight days in a sleep laboratory. They were able to get a normal amount of sleep for half of their stay, while during the other half, they were only allowed to sleep for 4.5 hours per night. Their diets and calorie intake were also controlled.
The results, which were acquired through a blood test, showed that the sleep deprivation caused an average 16 percent decrease in insulin sensitivity in the subjects, as well as a 30 percent reduction in their fat cells’ insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone made in in the pancreas that helps regulate glucose, also known as blood sugar. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), glucose is made when the body’s digestive system breaks down food. After eating, insulin is released, which allows the cell’s to absorb the glucose and use it for energy. When someone is insulin resistant, the cells in their muscles, fat and liver don’t utilize the energy source efficiently. The excess glucose in the bloodstream can cause diabetes.
Without sleep, the fat cells were inefficient in utilizing the glucose, and the deprivation made the metabolic process operate at the decreased rate of someone who was much older.
“This is the equivalent of metabolically aging someone 10 to 20 years just from four nights of partial sleep restriction,” Matthew Brady, PhD, one of the study’s authors told Health Magazine . “Fat cells need sleep, and when they don’t get enough sleep, they become metabolically groggy.”
Symptoms and risks of diabetes
The NIH noted that insulin resistance and prediabetes usually don’t have obvious symptoms. A sign of severe insulin resistance is having dark areas of skin, usually on the back of the neck, elbows, knees, knuckles and armpits.
Besides a lack of sleep, other risks for developing diabetes, according to the NIH, include leading a sedentary lifestyle, having African American, Hispanic/Latino or Pacific Islander heritage, high blood pressure as well as a history of heart disease.
Avoiding sleep deprivation
According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep deprivation can also cause high blood pressure and weaken your immune system. In order to get a good night’s rest, the source recommended sticking to regimented sleep schedule, so you go to bed and wake up at same time throughout the week. You should also be mindful of your intake of stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, which can take hours to wear off. Your sleep setting should be in a cool, dark place that’s comfortable and large enough to accommodate you.
Melatonin also plays a role in getting the right amount of sleep. The University of Maryland reported that melatonin is secreted by the pineal gland and helps maintain the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock, and controls when you fall asleep and wake up. Besides sleep, melatonin is also linked to the release of women’s hormones. You can get melatonin by taking a CalMax sleep supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals, which is fortified with calcium.
Risks of blood pressure
The Mayo Clinic reported that sleep deprivation may also be the cause of high blood pressure. To lower your blood pressure, besides getting the proper amount of sleep, you should exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day. Losing weight through dieting and working out can also be effective. The source noted that men with a waistline that exceeds 40 inches and women with a waistline that exceeds 35 inches are at risk of having high blood pressure.
According to the UMD, consuming omega-3 fatty acids will also be benefit your blood pressure. You can get your fatty acid fix with flax seeds, walnuts and hemp milk. You can also take an OmegaKrill supplement from Dr. Newton’s Naturals.