Lack of Sleep Can Cause Diabetes in Teen Boys

Teen boys who don't get enough sleep could be at risk for insulin resistance, according to new research from Penn State University.

"Slow-wave" sleep (SWS) is a stage in the sleep cycle that governs recovery after a period of sleep deprivation. A decline in SWS, which might occur after staying up late several nights in row, is linked to higher rates of insulin resistance and greater risk for diabetes.

"On a night following sleep deprivation, we'll have significantly more slow-wave sleep to compensate for the loss," said Jordan Gaines, study author. "We also know that we lose slow-wave sleep most rapidly during early adolescence. Given the restorative role of slow-wave sleep, we weren't surprised to find that metabolic and cognitive processes were affected during this developmental period."

Long-term effects of SWS loss

SWS, which declines with age, is also associated with reduced levels of cortisol - the "stress hormone" - and lower levels of inflammation.

The current study analyzed the long-term effects of SWS loss, following patients from childhood through adolescence.

In boys, a gradual loss of SWS was linked to insulin resistance, belly fat and attention problems. However, the same associations were not seen in girls.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, teens need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function optimally, but only about 15 percent get this amount of sleep on school nights.

"The best thing we can do for ourselves today is keep a consistent sleep schedule, so as not to deprive ourselves of any more slow-wave sleep than we're already naturally losing with age," the authors said.

Source: Penn State

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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