Good Night’s Sleep May Reduce Type 2 Diabetes in Obese Teens

Obese teenagers who don’t get the proper amount of sleep may have disruptions in insulin secretion and blood sugar (glucose) levels, according to pediatric researchers. The study suggests that getting a good night’s sleep may stave off the development of type 2 diabetes in overweight adolescents.

Dorit Koren, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and study investigator said:

“We already know that three out of four high school students report getting insufficient sleep. Our study found to keep glucose levels stable, the optimal amount of sleep for teenagers is 7.5 to 8.5 hours per night. Reduced insulin secretion may lead to the higher glucose levels that we found in subjects who had insufficient sleep. We will seek to confirm these findings with home-based studies of sleep patterns in obese teenagers. In the meantime, our study reinforces the idea that getting adequate sleep in adolescence may help protect against type 2 diabetes.”

She added that this is consistent with research in adults showing an association between sleep deprivation and increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

The researchers studied 62 obese adolescents with a mean age of 14 years at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Over one and a half days, the children, who were white, African American and Hispanic teenagers, underwent glucose testing and an overnight sleep study. In addition to measuring total sleep time, the researchers studied “sleep architecture,” analyzing stages of sleep such as slow-wave “deep” sleep and rapid eye movement sleep.

The study appears online in the journal Diabetes Care.