It is no hidden secret that a good night’s sleep is the answer to a lot of your woes. When the body is well rested only then can it perform better the next day. Sadly, most of us tend to neglect the importance of sleep and think getting four to five hours of sleep is good enough.
According to a recent study done by the University of Colorado Boulder in the US, it states that beyond temporary mood disorders and tiredness, lack of sleep can inflict lasting damage on your body. The researchers explained that insufficient sleep can increase the risk of diabetes, a chronic condition because it reduces the body's sensitivity to insulin, impairing the ability to regulate blood sugar and therefore increasing the risk of diabetes.
"We found that when people get too little sleep it leaves them awake at a time when their body clock is telling them they should be asleep," said the study's lead author Kenneth Wright, professor at University of Colorado Boulder.
"And when they eat something in the morning, it impairs their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels," Wright noted.
The researchers looked at a small number of healthy men and women in their study. Half of the participants initially slept for up to five hours a night for five days to simulate a regular work week. Then they slept for up to nine hours a night for five days. The other half completed the sleep conditions in the opposite order. Blood tests later showed that those who slept five hours a night had a reduced sensitivity to insulin, which in time could increase the risk of getting diabetes.
But when they slept nine hours a night, oral insulin sensitivity returned to normal. Still, it was not enough time to restore intravenous insulin sensitivity to baseline levels. The findings suggest that lack of sleep causes metabolic stress. The study appeared in the journal Current Biology.
According to another study led by researcher Ciaran Joseph McMullan from Brigham and Women's Hospital, shorter sleep duration can lead to a more rapid decline in kidney function.
Many of the body's processes follow a natural daily rhythm or so-called circadian clock that is based on regular sleep-wake cycles. The study found that kidney function may be compromised when this natural cycle is disrupted. The research team analysed information on 4,238 participants from the Nurses' Health Study with kidney function measurements on at least two occasions over an 11-year period.
The researchers found that shorter sleep duration was significantly linked with a more rapid decline in kidney function. As an example, women sleeping for five hours per night had a 65 percent increased likelihood of experiencing a rapid decline in kidney function compared with women sleeping seven to eight hours per night.
"This is the first prospective study to find that shorter sleep duration is associated with a more rapid decline in renal function," said McMullan. "The findings of this paper coupled with research from others suggest that renal physiology may be adversely effected by disruption in sleep, including sleep restriction," McMullan added.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the ongoing ASN Kidney Week 2015 during November 3-8 in San Diego.