I am a huge fan of sleep and find it to be key to my feeling of overall vitality. While it is commonly known that inadequate sleep can contribute to fatigue, few people realize it can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain. Specifically, reductions in sleep duration or quality can contribute to insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar.
- More than 30% of middle-aged Americans sleep less than 6 hours a night.
- Shorter sleep duration is independently associated with abdominal obesity and elevated glucose and triglycerides.
- People who sleep less than six hours per night are nearly twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome and/or elevated glucose.
- Shorter sleep or interrupted sleep causes elevated sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) activity with increased adrenaline.
- This can decrease the function of insulin receptors.
- Inadequate sleep can also increase the stress hormone cortisol, which contributes to decreased insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion.
- Sleep deprivation changes leptin and ghrelin (hunger hormones) so that people are more hungry and hungry for high carbohydrate and high fat foods.
So enjoy your sleep and its contributions to your health.