Woman Sleeping

Getting the recommended levels of sleep is crucial, given its apparent benefits. According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) experts, disrupted sleep patterns may lead to diabetes and obesity.

This is particularly applicable to those working on night shifts and hospital nurses who function round the clock. To reach this conclusion, a trial with 21 healthy volunteers was conducted. They were exposed to a range of sleep phases, thereby affecting their circadian rhythms in the process.

According to what was observed, continual loss of sleep led to disruption of normal body clocks. This seemed to decrease the resting metabolic count and also elevated glucose levels in the body. The effect was presumably due to the pancreas generating low levels of insulin.

“We think these results support the findings from studies showing that, in people with a pre-diabetic condition, shift workers who stay awake at night are much more likely to progress to full-on diabetes than day workers,” commented Orfeu M. Buxton, PhD, BWH neuroscientist and lead study author.

The team believed that reduced metabolic rates may lead to gain of almost 10 kilos per year, if lifestyle and diet remain consistent. To add to it, poor insulin production and increased glucose proportions are the hallmarks of diabetes.

In recent days, people working at night safely assume that sleeping for the same number of hours during the day would be equally effective. That’s not the case, as a good night’s sleep is what may be optimal for the body’s natural clock, the scientists cited.

The analysis is published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine.