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Lack of sleep increases risk of obesity and diabetes
People who sleep too little are at higher risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is the conclusion of scientists after analyzing numerous studies. They advise you to pay attention to sleep hygiene.
Lack of sleep jeopardizes health For many people, lack of sleep is a serious problem. Be it for reasons of a lack of fixed sleep rhythms due to shift work or because the night's sleep is generally too short: Those who rest too little permanently endanger their health. As researchers from Germany and Switzerland now report, those affected have an increased risk of being overweight, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. The scientists published their results in the medical journal "The Lancet Diabetes Endorinology". As a preventive measure, it could make sense to improve sleep hygiene.
Risk for short sleepers and late sleepers The specialist article summarizes the current state of research by Bernd Schultes from the eSwiss Medical & Surgical Center in St. Gallen and his colleagues. Short sleepers with an average of less than five hours of sleep per night therefore have an equally increased risk of the problem mentioned as late sleepers with an average of more than eight hours of sleep per night. For the scientists, the conclusion comes from large observational studies such as the US Nurses Health Study. Even if such studies can show very well that some phenomena often occur simultaneously, for example lack of sleep and obesity, it cannot be answered based on the data collected there why this is so.
When sleep is lacking, teenagers eat significantly more high-calorie foods. According to the researchers, however, small experimental studies have already shown how a lack of sleep can affect metabolism. After a few nights with only four hours of sleep each, subjects reduced their blood sugar levels much more slowly. Accordingly, a changing sleep rhythm negatively affects the glucose metabolism. It was also analyzed whether people eat more or eat more calories when they sleep very little. As the research team writes, this has actually been observed in most studies. For example, teenagers ate significantly more calorie-rich foods, such as snacks or sweets, when they were only allowed to sleep for a few nights.
Improving sleep hygiene Another point that was examined was whether people tend to move more or less after nights with little sleep. However, as the article says, the results are contradictory. Overall, however, there is a clear connection between sleep and metabolism. Therefore, it could be worthwhile to improve sleep hygiene in order to prevent obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure somewhat better. A number of studies are currently underway to investigate whether behavioral therapy that is designed to improve sleep behavior also affects the weight or blood sugar level of the test subjects.
Stress and psychological complaints cause insomnia Sleep research has long been concerned with the increasingly common sleep disorders. According to expert opinion, these should be examined medically if they last longer than a maximum of one month, occur at least three times a week or have a disruptive effect on the profession. Chronic insomnia is not only a trigger for concentration problems, it can also promote the occurrence of diseases such as high blood pressure, heart diseases such as heart attacks, gastrointestinal disorders and mental illnesses such as depression. The most common causes of sleep disorders are mental discomfort and stress, followed by pain and noise. (sb)