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One Sleepless Night can induce Insulin
Resistance in Healthy People
Newswise — According to a new study accepted
for publication in The Endocrine Society’s
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &
Metabolism (JCEM), just one night of short
sleep duration can induce insulin
resistance, a component of type 2 diabetes.
“Sleep duration has shortened considerably
in western societies in the past decade and
simultaneously, there has been an increase
in the prevalence of insulin resistance and
type 2 diabetes,” said Esther Donga, MD of
the Leiden University Medical Center in The
Netherlands and lead author of the study.
“The co-occurring rises in shortened sleep
and diabetes prevalence may not be a
coincidence. Our findings show a short night
of sleep has more profound effects on
metabolic regulation than previously
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.
“Our data indicate that insulin sensitivity
is not fixed in healthy subjects, but
depends on the duration of sleep in the
preceding night,” said Donga.
“In fact it is tempting to speculate that
the negative effects of multiple nights of
shortened sleep on glucose tolerance can be
reproduced, at least in part, by just one
Donga adds that further studies are needed
to evaluate whether interventions aimed at
improving sleep duration may be beneficial
in stabilizing glucose levels in patients
Other researchers working on the study
include: Marieke van Dijk, J. Gert van Dijk,
Neinke Biermasz, Gert-Jan Lammers, Klaas van
Kralingen, Eleonara Corssmit and Johannes
Romijn of Leiden University Medical Center
in The Netherlands.
The article, “A single night of partial
sleep deprivation induces insulin resistance
in multiple metabolic pathways in healthy
subjects,” will appear in the June 2010
issue of JCEM.
Founded in 1916, The Endocrine Society is
the world’s oldest, largest and most active
organization devoted to research on hormones
and the clinical practice of endocrinology.
Today, The Endocrine Society’s membership
consists of over 14,000 scientists,
physicians, educators, nurses and students
in more than 100 countries.
Society members represent all basic,
applied, and clinical interests in
The Endocrine Society is based in Chevy
Chase, Maryland. To learn more about the
Society and the field of endocrinology,
visit our site at