4. Catch-Up Sleep on Weekends May Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Risk Tied to Sleep Loss

Sleep restriction is associated with insulin resistance and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Researchers conducted a sleep experiment with 19 healthy lean young men and found just four nights of sleep deprivation were linked to changes in their blood suggesting their bodies weren’t handling sugar as well as usual. Participants underwent two different sleep schedules: 8.5 hours in bed for four consecutive nights (normal sleep) and 4.5 hours in bed for four nights followed by 2 nights of recovery sleep, 12 hours the first night and 10 hours the second night (restricted sleep). An IV glucose tolerance test was performed after each sleep period to evaluate insulin sensitivity, acute insulin response to glucose and disposition index (ie, insulin sensitivity x acute insulin response to glucose). Standardized meals were given 24 hours before each IV glucose tolerance test.

During normal sleep, participants slept an average 7.8 hours compared with 4.3 hours during sleep restriction and 9.7 hours during sleep recovery (P < .001). Researchers observed a 23% reduction in insulin sensitivity after sleep restriction relative to normal sleep; this was improved to similar levels of normal sleep after the recovery period. There also was a 16% reduction in the disposition index after sleep restriction relative to normal sleep, which also improved to normal levels after the recovery period.

“Though this is evidence that weekend catch-up sleep may help someone recover from a sleep-deprived week, this was not a long-term study, and our subjects went through this process only once,” Josiane Broussard, PhD, assistant research professor in the department of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said.

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