Dozing off while driving is not the only threat of sleep deprivation, it can cause lifestyle diseases too. Not having enough sleep or sleeping at unnatural times of the day can lead to long-term lifestyle diseases. This is backed by lot of researches and their conclusions indicate that diabetes, heart diseases and related problems are caused due to such indiscretions. Studies on sleep deprivation and diabetes risk have revealed that those who sleep less than 5 hours a day are at a significantly increased risk of getting diabetes.
Moreover, rotating between day shifts and night shifts also increases the risk of diabetes. This was confirmed by researchers who studied the exhaustive medical records of the Nurses’ Health Study, which is the largest and longest running study of the factors influencing Women’s Health in the USA. This was confirmed by other studies which showed an even more disturbing situation. It was found that lack of sleep disturbs the biological rhythm and this leads to such changes in the body that, sort of set the stage for diabetes to occur.
Up to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic problems related to sleep and diabetes is one of them. However, a problem more serious is that related conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, depression, heart disease and impairment of memory results from lack of sleep. This was reported by Orfeu Buxton of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, who conducted a study on the impact of sleep deprivation on diabetes to know if sleep may increase risk of type 2 diabetes.
Buxton's conducted his research on 21 healthy volunteers who were required to spend close to six weeks in a laboratory in which their diet, sleep, physical activity and even the exposure to light was strictly under control.
The volunteers were well rested for starters. But out of the total duration of the study the volunteers were not allowed to sleep more than 5 hours a day for three weeks. Their time of sleep was also varied based on what they wanted to mimic, such as a bad shift rotation required at a job or a jet lag that lasted too long. All of it was done to monitor what is known as the “circadian rhythm of the body”, i.e. the regulator of biological clock determining when a person becomes sleepy or the rise and fall of body temperature.
The findings clearly indicated the adverse effect of putting a person through such a schedule. It was found that blood sugar levels rise after meals as the pancreas stopped secreting the normal amount of insulin. This at times elevated the blood sugar to the level as high as the pre-diabetic stage.
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