Researchers believe that this type of heightened resistance can cause excess sugar and cholesterol to build up in the blood leading to diabetes and heart disease.
This is the first study of its kind to examine the cellular mechanisms of how insulin sensitivity is connected to lack of sleep, obesity, and diabetes.
“This takes the research on the effect of sleep deprivation on metabolism one step further, by revealing a molecular mechanism involved in the reduction of total body insulin sensitivity,” said Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson, co-director of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center who was not involved in the study. “If you want to make a casual argument that short sleep is causing diabetes…one of the key elements is coming up with a physiological mechanism by which this would happen.”
Critics believe that more research is needed on a variety of subjects to concretely link sleep deprivation to insulin sensitivity.
But, researchers agree to an apparent solution, more sleep.
“Until somebody invents a procedure or a pill that’s going to approximate all aspects of sleep, really what you’re left with is what is a pretty simple treatment…just turn off the computer and go to bed earlier,” Watson said.