The findings of a new study led by Esther Donga, MD of the Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands show a short night of sleep has more profound effects on metabolic regulation than previously appreciated. ScienceDaily reports previous studies have found that reductions in sleep duration over multiple nights result in impaired glucose tolerance, but this is the first study to examine the effects of only a single night of partial sleep restriction on insulin sensitivity.
In this study, researchers examined nine healthy subjects, once after a night of normal sleep duration (approximately eight hours), and once after a night of four hours of sleep. Insulin sensitivity of each study participant was measured using the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp method. This method uses catheters to infuse glucose and insulin into the bloodstream and then determines insulin sensitivity by measuring the amount of glucose necessary to compensate for an increased insulin level without causing hypoglycemia.
The results of the study, accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), suggest just one night of short sleep duration can induce insulin resistance, a component of type 2 diabetes.