Study: Childhood sleep deficit increases later risk of diabetes

Study: Childhood sleep deficit increases later risk of diabetes

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Adequate sleep in childhood can protect against type 2 diabetes and obesity
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that unfortunately affects more and more people today. Researchers have now found that if children do not get enough sleep, this leads to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Children need enough sleep, most parents should know that. Scientists at St. George’s University of London have now found another reason why children should sleep early and enough. Insufficient sleep can lead to type 2 diabetes in children. The doctors published the results of their study in the specialist journal "Pediatrics".

If children sleep too little, their weight increases and insulin resistance increases
In their study, the experts examined more than 4,500 British children. The doctors found a link between the children's sleeping habits and certain risk markers for diabetes. If the children slept less hours regularly at night, they often had a slightly increased weight and had greater insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes
Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. When the body begins to become resistant to insulin, the experts say it can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes. The sleeping habits can increase the risk of diabetes and other health problems later in life, the researchers explain.

Results may be due to differences in brain functions
Past studies had previously found that an increased risk for diabetes sufferers can follow from childhood to late adulthood. However, the new findings cannot prove that a lack of sleep increases the risk of diabetes in children. The researchers speculate that there could be other explanations for the connection between children's sleep and risk markers for diabetes. For example, the relationship could reflect differences in brain functions that regulate sleep, appetite, and insulin sensitivity. It is not yet clear whether there is a causal association between sleep, obesity and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, there is no disadvantage if parents make sure that their children get enough sleep, the authors explain.

Positive effects of adequate sleep
There are studies that indicate that adequate sleep is necessary for optimal learning and a healthy memory. Regular, adequate sleep also leads to positive effects on mood, the scientists explain. Sleep affects the release of various hormones, and inadequate sleep could actually directly affect children's weight and insulin resistance, the researchers suggest in a press release from St. George’s University of London.

Children should sleep nine to eleven hours a night
Experts advise parents that school-age children in particular should get enough sleep. At best, televisions and electronic devices should be switched off one hour before going to bed, and liquids should only be consumed to a limited extent before bedtime. Caffeine should of course be avoided before going to bed. According to the National Sleep Foundation, children between the ages of six and thirteen should sleep nine to eleven hours a night.

Doctors carried out various tests
The participating children ranged in age from nine to ten years. The subjects were asked about their usual sleeping times. The researchers also measured children's weight, height and body fat. They also took blood samples to test insulin and blood sugar levels.

Broad variation in participants' sleeping habits noted
On average, the children received around 10.5 hours of sleep a night. However, there was a wide variation in the participants' sleeping habits: some children received only eight hours of sleep a night, while others usually slept for twelve hours.

More research is needed
The results of the study showed that prolonged sleep in the children resulted in lower insulin resistance and that these participants were generally somewhat thinner. Additional sleep in early life could be a simple and inexpensive approach to reducing body fat and the risk of type 2 diabetes, the scientists explain. But the only way to test these effects is through a study in which researchers get children to sleep more. (as)

Author and source information

Video: Discover Brigham Sleep Medicine Research Video - Brigham and Womens Hospital (May 2022).


  1. Mansfield

    Let's talk on this question.

  2. Arashibar

    And is it analog?

  3. Cyril

    . Rarely. You can say this exception :)

  4. Eder


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