The Vital Importance of Adequate Sleep

By: Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

Two new sleep studies highlight health problems that can result when you do not get enough sleep.  The first study showed that in healthy adults, one night of short sleep (4 hours) is enough to cause insulin resistance1.  The second study showed that getting less than six hours of sleep on a regular basis increased the risk of early death2 from any cause by 12%.

The insulin resistance study involved detailed glucose and insulin testing on nine healthy subjects, both after sleeping a full night and after sleeping 4 hours.  The amount of adverse change that could occur in a healthy person after only one night of short sleep stunned the researchers. They found evidence of liver insulin resistance, muscle insulin resistance, and a build up of fatty acids in the blood.  All of these changes, especially if perpetuated over time, could readily lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

The second study was a large meta-analysis of 16 studies involving 1,382,999 people – following up on them for up to 25 years.  The researchers found that less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours were both predictive of early death. 

There is no replacing quality sleep.

Referenced Studies:
  1. ^ Inuslin Resistance and a Short Night’s Sleep  Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,  1.E. Donga, M. van Dijk, J. G. van Dijk, N. R. Biermasz, G. J. Lammers, K. W. van Kralingen, E. P. M. Corssmit, J. A. Romijn
  2. ^ Sleep Duration and All-Cause Mortality  Sleep  Cappuccio FP, Elia L, Strazzullo P & Miller MA.

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