Experts have long expounded on the benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep, as well as the negative impacts that come along with not getting enough or getting too much.
Now, a new study from the Endocrine Society shows that men in particular could face some serious consequences by not getting a good night’s sleep. The group’s findings suggest that men who sleep too little or too much have a greater risk of developing diabetes, a disease that affects 29 million people across the U.S.
Importance of sleep
In general, the amount of sleep that Americans are getting has gone down in recent years. On average, the amount of sleep that people say they get at night is 1.5 to 2 hours lower than it was 50 years ago. Perhaps not coincidentally, the prevalence of diabetes has doubled over the same timeframe.
For the purposes of the study, researchers examined nearly 800 participants and analyzed the relationship between sleep duration and glucose metabolism. Special attention was given to the gender of participants to assess its importance as a major factor – and apparently it is.
“In men, sleeping too much or too little was related to less responsiveness of the cells in the body to insulin, reducing glucose uptake and thus increasing the risk of developing diabetes in the future. In women, no such association was observed,” said Dr. Femke Rutters, senior author of the study.
Differences between genders
The results of the study carry some significance, since it is the first of its kind to find opposite connections of sleep loss and diabetes between genders. However, the researchers are quick to note that the study will need to be validated through repetition, since their study utilized primarily healthy individuals and used instruments that were much more sensitive than those used in past studies.
Nevertheless, the researchers believe that their work represented an important step towards understanding the health consequences behind sleep.
“Even when you are healthy, sleeping too much or too little can have detrimental effects on your health. . . This research shows how important sleep is to a key aspect of health – glucose metabolism,” concluded Rutters.
The full study has been published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.