The Role of Sleep in Diabetes Prevention

The Role of Sleep in Diabetes Prevention: Staying up late and getting up early are normal events in many American homes. Sometimes that is by choice and sometimes stress related factors make it difficult at best to move past regular bouts of insomnia.

Lest any of you think that the more sleep the better research seems to suggest that anything less than seven hours, or more than nine, can contribute to a variety of health issues including obesity and diabetes.

This is a bit like the children’s story “Goldilocks” in which the little girl tries two extremes and settles for the middle option she refers to as “Just right.”

There is the old adage; “Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” I don’t know about wealthy, but there is wisdom in managing your health account. It makes little sense to ‘spend’ your health at the expense of sleep.


Findings of the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies held recently were reported in ScienceDaily.com. The report suggests, “Results indicate that short sleep was associated with obesity, with the adjusted odds ratios for black Americans (1.78) and white Americans (1.43) showing that blacks had a 35 percent greater risk than whites of obesity associated with short sleep. The prevalence of obesity (body mass index of 30 or higher) was 52 percent for blacks and 38 percent for whites. The prevalence of short sleep (5 hours or less) was 12 percent for blacks and eight percent for whites.”

That report further states, “Individuals who sleep for less than seven hours per night may be at a greater risk for becoming obese.”

ABCNews.com suggested, “One study found that those who slept five hours or fewer per night were 24 percent more likely to develop diabetes, while those who slept nine or more hours per night were 48 percent more likely to develop diabetes than those sleeping more typical hours.”

Another study suggests that if you want to sleep well you should skip working out although this was a controversial study at best. This was a small study conducted over a short period of time. Most medical experts suggest continuing physical activity, but perhaps reduce overall stresses in other areas of your life. You may also find that certain times of the day are better for physical exercise than others.

Some individuals are also finding that eating close to bedtime is not helpful to waistline goals. By managing meals at strategic times you may find that your overall health might just improve.

It is no secret that in the modern world we try to pack in more opportunities than our parents and we involve our kids in more activities than we ever thought of participating in ourselves. We may even feel this provides our offspring an advantage, but the related stress may be damaging the health of two generations. The stress we face can result in sleepless nights and caffeine-enriched days. This cycle, while typically accepted in our culture, is often a recipe for negative health conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

You may be able to add more life to your days by declining even good offers to participate in good things if those things will interfere substantially with your sleep patterns and stress levels.

In this case wise opportunity subtraction could be a key to a healthier future. Sleep well – live better.