Sleep Deprivation A Major Diabetes Risk Factor In Teens

Being a teenager in the U.S. leaves little time for sleep. Young people devote their time to school, sports, clubs, parties, and friends, and there isn’t much left over for sleep. A recent study of U.S. teenagers found that their risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased as the hours of sleep they got per night decreased.

The study, conducted at the University of Pittsburgh, found that the average duration of sleep on weeknights for high school students was only 6.4 hours. Karen Matthews, lead author of the research, found that there is a connection between the amount of sleep teenagers got and their insulin resistance. She said:

"If teens that normally get six hours of sleep per night get one extra hour of sleep, they would improve insulin resistance by 9 percent."

The importance of insulin resistance

The study did not link obesity to the relationship between sleep and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is crucial for cells to respond to glucose that the body produces, and without it there is a sugar buildup in the blood that increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes or heart disease.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that young adults (under 20) get at least nine hours of sleep every night.

Strategies for getting more sleep

Some effective strategies for getting more sleep are keeping a regular sleep routine, staying away from electronics for at least an hour before bed, eating an early dinner, and getting exercise during the day. If teenagers simply don’t have enough hours in the day to sleep, they should probably lessen their workload outside of school by joining fewer groups and clubs.

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