According to a study, short periods of sleep during a disrupted work schedule increases blood sugar significantly, thereby increasing the chances of diabetes and obesity. The study found out that healthy individuals, who expose themselves to irregular work schedules, made 32% less insulin compared with individuals, who give themselves enough time to rest. The lack of rest shot their blood sugar levels up making them pre-diabetic.
It was also found that the number of calories the individuals burnt reduced by about 8%. As per calculations by the researchers, the reduced amount of calorie burn could amount to 12 pounds of weight gain over the course of a year. According to researcher Orfeu M, Buxton, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, the human body cannot adapt well to the modern life i.e. “excess work, excess pressure and no sleep”.
The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and the researchers did the study by keeping 21 women and men in a sleep lap under controlled conditions for over a month. Half of the adults in the study were in their 20s and the rest in their 60s. The rooms they lived in were dimly lit without any windows, which prevented the scope of adjusting to shifting days as well as nights.
The people were kept awake for over 28 hours at a stretch and exposed to conditions that were meant to deprive them of sleep. The participants’ blood was drawn to test for blood sugar after and before meals, energy regulation, appetite and stress.
The researchers pointed out that with a regular work schedule one’s body can adapt to the cycle and treat night as day. Buxton says that one must try to eat during biological day because the gut is not ready to take food in the middle of the night.