Catch-Up Sleep May Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Risk
But the research is preliminary and only included a small number of healthy young men, experts noted
By Alan Mozes
MONDAY, Jan. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Though prior research warns that sleep deprivation may increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests that "catch-up" sleep might reverse that risk -- at least in the short-term.
Short-changing sleep during the week only to sleep in for long periods on the weekend is a common pattern in the United States, according to the study authors. And, previous research has suggested that getting just four or five hours of sleep a night can boost type 2 diabetes risk by nearly 20 percent.
But the new study hints that that risk might be reversed with just two days of extra sleep.
"I have to say that this is a small, very short-term controlled study involving only healthy men," said study lead author Josiane Broussard, an assistant research professor with the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
"In real life, you'd be losing sleep week in and week out, so we don't know whether catch-up sleep can give you this kind of risk improvement in that context. But the good take-away from this work is that at least in terms of diabetes risk, it seems that you're not necessarily totally screwed if you experience sleep loss," said Broussard.
The study findings were published online Jan. 18 in Diabetes Care.
Initially, 19 healthy, young and lean men were allowed up to 8.5 hours of sleep per night (between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.) for four consecutive nights in a sleep lab. They slept an average of 7.8 hours a night, the study authors said.
The four-day "normal" sleep period was followed by a glucose tolerance test to see the young men's usual diabetes risk.
The same group was then placed on a lab-controlled sleep deprivation schedule. Each volunteer could sleep just 4.5 hours a night (between 1 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.) for four consecutive nights. After the four nights, they had another glucose tolerance test. On average the men slept 4.3 hours a night, the researchers said.