Deprivation Nation: How Lack of Sleep Can Lead to Diabetes
The Dangers of Sleep Deprivation
On the sofa, in front of the TV. On the train, surrounded by fellow commuters. In the movie theater, before the film begins. If you can't stay awake in any -- or all -- of these places, it's a good bet you're sleep-deprived. This lack of shut-eye does more than make you chronically grouchy; it elevates your risk of high blood pressure and obesity. And now there's a whole new reason to put an end to your sleep starvation: Skimping on rest could increase your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, a disease once believed to be caused primarily by being overweight. In fact, just three consecutive nights of inadequate sleep can elevate a person's risk to a degree roughly equivalent to gaining 20 to 30 pounds, according to a 2007 study at the University of Chicago.
"Sleep may be as important as exercise or diet when it comes to developing diabetes," says Eve Van Cauter, MD, a professor of medicine and the senior author of the study. This revelation backs up previous research from Yale and the New England Research Institutes, which showed that people who clock six hours or less of sleep a night are twice as likely to develop diabetes in their lifetime as those who snooze seven hours. Translation? If you're not getting enough rest -- even if you're slim and fit -- you're putting your health in serious jeopardy.
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