Insulin resistance risk in sleepyhead teens

Published on December 22, 2012 at 1:15 AM · No Comments

By Andrew McCulloch, medwireNews Reporter

Inadequate amounts of sleep could put teenagers at increased risk for elevated insulin resistance, say US researchers.

"High levels of insulin resistance can lead to the development of diabetes," lead author Karen Matthews, from the University of Pittsburgh in Philadelphia, said in a press statement. "We found that if teens that normally get six hours of sleep per night get one extra hour of sleep, they would improve insulin resistance by 9 percent."

This suggests that "interventions designed to extend sleep in short sleepers may be beneficial for metabolic health in adolescence and beyond," the researchers explain.

The cross-sectional study, reported in SLEEP, tracked the sleep duration and insulin resistance levels of 245 healthy students from a single US high school. Of these, 137 were African American and 116 were male.

Sleep time across 1 week was an average of 7.4 hours per night, according to sleep diaries, and 6.4 hours per night according to wrist actigraph, which is shorter than the recommended 9 hours (American Academy of Sleep Medicine), the researchers report.

The average homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was 4.13 and linear regression analysis showed that higher insulin resistance was associated with shorter sleep duration, primarily during the week.

This association was independent of age, race, gender, body mass index, and waist circumference.

"Based on the present regression model, we estimate that for adolescents who received 6 hours of sleep [a] night, one additional hour of sleep would have changed their HOMA-IR from 3.179 to 2.896," the team reports.

Longer sleep duration was not associated with insulin resistance, however.

The authors also claim a novel finding that glucose levels were higher among students with fragmented sleep, especially during the week, whereas fragmentation was unrelated to insulin resistance.

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