By Randy Dotinga
THURSDAY, March 5, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Think twice the next time you don't get as much sleep as you need: A new study suggests that missing just 30 minutes of shuteye during weeknights could boost your weight and disrupt your metabolism.
Many people skimp on sleep during the week and try to make up for it on the weekend, wrote study author Shahrad Taheri, a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar. But weekday sleep debt may lead to long-term metabolic disruption, which may promote or exacerbate type 2 diabetes.
"Sleep loss is widespread in modern society, but only in the last decade have we realized its metabolic consequences," Taheri said in a news release from the Endocrine Society.
"Our findings suggest that avoiding sleep debt could have positive benefits for waistlines and metabolism, and that incorporating sleep into lifestyle interventions for weight loss and diabetes might improve their success," Taheri added.
The researchers studied 522 patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and randomly assigned them to usual care, added exercise, or diet and exercise.
At the study's start, those who didn't get enough sleep during the week were 72 percent more likely than those with sufficient sleep to be obese. Six months later, the researchers said they were more likely to be obese and have blood sugar problems.
Just a half hour of missed sleep during weekdays was enough to cause problems, the researchers found.
After a year, for every 30 minutes of weekday sleep debt at baseline, the risk of obesity and insulin resistance -- an indicator of diabetes -- was increased by 17 percent and 39 percent, respectively, the study found.
The study was scheduled for presentation Thursday at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego. Studies released at conferences should be considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.