It shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people that a recent sleep poll reported a discrepancy between the number of hours people said they needed to sleep to function properly and the actual amount they reported getting. Only about one-third of respondents were getting enough sleep (1). What people may not be aware of is that not clocking enough hours each night might be putting your health at risk. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism showed that even a partial night’s rest over a single night induces insulin resistance (2). Nine healthy individuals were studied after a night of normal sleep (up to 8.5 hours) and a night of partial sleep (4 hours duration). In those with only 4 hours of sleep there was a significant decline in glucose disposal suggesting decreased insulin sensitivity (2). Insulin is a key hormone involved in blood glucose control. When insulin is secreted by the pancreas, it allows for glucose to be drawn into your cells to be used for energy. If insulin resistance is present, cells don’t respond to this hormone, so more insulin is needed in order for glucose to get into your cells. It’s when the levels of insulin and glucose build up in the body that it puts individuals at greater risk for disease, especially type II diabetes and heart disease (3). Time to get those Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz’s!
1. 2010 Sleep in America Poll. Available at:
Accessed: May 11, 2010.
2. Donga E, van Dijk M, van Dijk JG, Biermasz NR, Lammers GJ, van Kralingen KW, Corssmit EP, Romijn JA. A Single Night of Partial Sleep Deprivation Induces Insulin Resistance in Multiple Metabolic Pathways in Healthy Subjects. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Apr 6. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Insulin Resistance and Pre-diabetes. Available at: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance/#what. Accessed: May 11, 2010.
Nothing contained in this blog is intended to be instructional for medial diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult your personal physician immediately.