Study led by Josiane Broussard finds links between sleep loss and diabetes
Lack of sleep can elevate free fatty acid levels in the blood, accompanied by a pre-diabetic state in healthy young men, according to new research led by Branco Weiss fellow Josiane Broussard and published online in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
The study, the first to examine the impact of sleep loss on 24-hour fatty acid levels in the blood, adds to emerging evidence that insufficient sleep – a highly prevalent condition in modern society – may disrupt fat metabolism and reduce the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar. The findings suggest that something as simple as getting enough sleep could help counteract the current epidemics of diabetes and obesity.
The researchers found that after three nights of getting only four hours of sleep per night, blood levels of fatty acids, which usually peak and then recede overnight, remained elevated from about 4 a.m. to 9 a.m. As long as fatty acid levels remained high, the ability of insulin to regulate blood sugar was reduced.