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Lack of sleep linked to diabetes

Bad sleepers could be at a greater risk of developing adult diabetes, according to new research.

Restricting sleep to just four hours a night can induce insulin resistance, scientists have found.

The study was carried out by Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and is published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Research leader Dr Esther Donga said: "Sleep duration has shortened considerably in Western societies in the past decade and simultaneously there has been an increase in the prevalence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

"The co-occurring rises in shortened sleep and diabetes prevalence may not be a coincidence. Our findings show a short night of sleep has more profound effects on metabolic regulation than previously appreciated."

Insulin resistance occurs when the vital hormone becomes less able to regulate glucose blood sugar. As a result, blood sugar levels rise, eventually leading to symptoms of diabetes.

The researchers examined nine healthy volunteers, once after a normal night of eight hours' sleep, and once after sleeping for four hours. After each night, their insulin sensitivity was measured.

The results showed that cutting back on sleep reduced insulin sensitivity.

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Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism