Lack of sleep leads to impaired insulin sensitivity

November, 2015

A very small study, involving eight healthy young men and women, has found that insulin sensitivity gets worse the longer you're awake during the night.

During the study, one group had just five hours of available sleep time each night for five nights before five nights with nine hours of available sleep time. The other group did the opposite, starting with nine hours of available sleep time, followed by five hours per night. Participants were allowed to eat whatever they wanted during the short-night testing period.

The simulated five-day workweek of five hours of sleep per night resulted in a 20% reduced oral and intravenous insulin sensitivity, and it took three consecutive nights of nine hours of available sleep time to restore oral insulin sensitivity to previous levels.

It's worth emphasizing that these were all young and very healthy people.

Eckel, R. H., Depner, C. M., Perreault, L., Markwald, R. R., Smith, M. R., McHill, A. W., … Wright, K. P. (2015). Morning Circadian Misalignment during Short Sleep Duration Impacts Insulin Sensitivity. Current Biology, 25(22), 3004–3010.

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