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Can poor sleep increase Type 2 diabetes risk?

Successive nights of disturbed sleep can put people at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

Scientists from the University of Chicago studied five healthy men and four healthy women aged between 20 and 31.

The volunteers received two nights of undisturbed sleep and three nights during which their sleep was interrupted.

After allowing the volunteers either normal or impaired sleep, the researchers injected glucose into their bloodstreams and monitored how well they dealt with it. They found that volunteers had, on average, 23 per cent more glucose in their blood after three nights disturbed sleep.

According to today's Guardian, that is a decrease in insulin sensitivity comparable to that caused by gaining 9-13kg (20-30lb) in weight.

Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: “It is well documented that people who are overweight or obese can have problems sleeping. We would welcome properly controlled studies looking at the effect of sleep disorders in people with Type 2 diabetes on glycaemic control, blood pressure and quality of life. 

"The study reported here used a small number of participants and examined them over a short period of time. It is therefore too early to draw firm conclusions about the potential risks of developing Type 2 diabetes from the results of this study."

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