Weekend 'catch up' sleep can help prevent type 2 diabetes

Men who aren't snoozing enough during the work week may be able to lower their risk of type 2 diabetes by sleeping in on the weekends.

A study conducted by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found that three nights of "catch up" sleep can help the body become more sensitive to insulin and thereby lower diabetes risk.

An extra few hours a night helps

Researchers studied 19 non-diabetic men with an average age of 28.6 years. All of the men reported that they got inadequate sleep during the work week, clocking in only about six hours of sleep each night. However, they regularly slept in on the weekends, getting an extra 2.3 hours of sleep on those nights.

The men were randomly assigned to three different groups that were tested in a sleep lab on two separate weekends. One group was assigned to sleep 10 hours, another slept six hours, and the third spent 10 hours in bed which were periodically interrupted by noises that prevented deep sleep without waking them.

In the morning, researchers took blood samples from the men to measure insulin and blood sugar levels. All of the men ate the same foods during the lab experiments so that their diets could not influence the results.

Men who got 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep on their "catch up" nights showed much better insulin sensitivity than when they had restrictions on sleep. Also, scores on insulin resistance tests improved with more sleep.

Make it up

Researchers said that while sleep restrictions are common nowadays, men may be able to prevent diabetes by simply dedicating their weekends to making up lost hours of sleep.

"The good news is that by extending the hours they sleep, adult men – who over a long period of time do not get enough sleep during the working week – can still improve their insulin sensitivity," Peter Liu, MD, PhD, an LA BioMed lead researcher, said in a press release.

Results of the study were presented today at the Endocrine Society's 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Source: LA BioMed

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