Just this week, researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) presenting findings at The Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco which concluded that people can reduce their likelihood of developing a specific type of Diabetes if they just get more sleep.
The study was directed by lead researcher Peter Liu, MD, PhD., who found that the body regulated blood sugar levels (glucose) better, and kept excessive amounts of sugar from flowing into the bloodstream after just three nights of ‘catch-up’ sleep in men who usually have long-term weekday work-induced sleep deprivation. It turns out our sleep debt can be repaid!
Diabetes already affects an estimated 26 million people, and most people already know they need a sufficient amount of sleep. The problem is making sure that they sleep enough and not too little, due to work and family demands on their time. Fortunately, a good vacation or a long weekend periodically can restore the insulin regulation of the body and keep us from developing insulin resistance and other pre-cursors to Diabetes as well as Type II Diabetes, itself.
The National Sleep Foundation says that every adult has a basal sleep need, a baseline amount of sleep around 7-8 hours nightly, but this doesn’t account for environmental interruptions, sleep debt, insomnia, and sickness that causes us to wake and fall asleep again repeatedly throughout the night. This is why there is really no magic number of hours each person needs to sleep. Some people will need more, others less, depending on overall health, lifestyle, work demands, etc. In a relatively sleep starved nation (that even makes school aged kids perform worse on tests) it would be better to err on the side of oversleeping rather than not getting enough. Other research says it can take weeks or even months to restore the body from excessive sleep debts.
Here are some signs you may not be sleeping enough:
- 1. Simple decisions are hard to make.
- 2. You nod off at the office, in the car, at your kid’s soccer game.
- 3. You crave sugar and carbs to replace lost energy.
- 4. You come down with colds easily.
- 5. You are more emotional than usual (this is due to extra activity in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes anxiety and fear).
- 6. You are more klutzy than usual – bumping into things, dropping your keys, etc. Your reflexes and motor skills are affected by too little sleep.
- 7. You feel depressed or anxious more often.
- 8. You have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep (ironically insomnia is often a sign of too little sleep).
Christina Sarich is a humanitarian and freelance writer helping you to Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.