Too Little Sleep Can Lead to Insulin Resistance in Teens

A new study claims that if teens could improve the amount of sleep that they get, it could significantly improve their insulin resistance and prevent the future onset of diabetes.

The study's lead author, Karen Matthews Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburg Department of Psychiatry, says:

"High levels of insulin resistance can lead to the development of diabetes. 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."

For purposes of the study, researchers kept track of the duration of sleep and insulin resistance levels of 245 healthy high school students. The participants maintained a sleep log and wore a wrist actigraph for one week during the school year. Based on actigraphy sleep duration averaged 6.4 hours over the week, with school days significantly lower than weekends.

The study revealed that the shorter the sleep duration, the higher the insulin resistance. This was found to be true independent of age, race, gender, waist circumference, and body mass index.

The study's authors say that teens should try to extend the duration of their sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens get a little more than nine hours of sleep each night.

The study was published in the October issue of the journal SLEEP.