Emerging research suggests that insufficient or disturbed sleep is associated with metabolic disorders such as type II diabetes and obesity.
This finding has led experts to believe addressing poor quality sleep should be a target for the prevention — and even treatment — of these disorders.
Study authors have published their findings in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
“Metabolic health, in addition to genetic predisposition, is largely dependent on behavioral factors such as dietary habits and physical activity.
“In the past few years, sleep loss as a disorder characterizing the 24-hour lifestyle of modern societies has increasingly been shown to represent an additional behavioral factor adversely affecting metabolic health,” write the authors.
Researchers believe that addressing some types of sleep disturbance — such as sleep apnea — may have a directly beneficial effect on patients’ metabolic health.
However, a more common problem is people simply not getting enough sleep, particularly due to the increased use of devices such as portable gaming devices and tablets.
Furthermore, disruption of the body’s natural sleeping and waking cycle have been clearly associated with poor metabolic health, increased incidence of chronic illnesses, and early mortality.
Although a number of epidemiological studies point to a clear association between poor quality sleep and metabolic disorders, until recently, the reason for this association was not clear.
However, experimental studies are starting to provide evidence that there is a direct causal link between loss of sleep and the body’s ability to metabolize glucose, control food intake, and maintain its energy balance.
According to the study authors, “These findings open up new strategies for targeted interventions aimed at the present epidemic of the metabolic syndrome and related diseases.
“Ongoing and future studies will show whether interventions to improve sleep duration and quality can prevent or even reverse adverse metabolic traits.”
Experts believe the findings clearly suggest that health care professionals should motivate their patients to enjoy sufficient sleep at the right time of day.
Source: The Lancet