New Research Proposes Quality Sleep Can Lower Adolescent Diabetes Risk

Diabetes in teenagers is a growing concern in the United States.  Type 2 diabetes is ten times more common in teens now than it was a decade ago, according to the Diabetes Partnership of Cleveland.

Once, type 1 diabetes was by far the most common in kids and teens. Twenty years ago, only 2 percent of all diabetes cases identified in children and adolescents were type 2 diabetes. Today, about 30 percent of such cases are type 2.

Can Sleep Improve Teen Diabetes Risk?

New research reported in Science Daily relates the right amount of sleep to healthy insulin and glucose (blood sugar) levels. The study, published in Diabetes Care, shows that quality sleep—not too little, not too much—can give obese teens the edge on avoiding type 2 diabetes.

The researchers, based at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, found that between 7.5 and 8.5 hours of sleep a night correlated to stable glucose levels. Either too little or too much sleep could result in higher glucose levels. Sleep quality was also important—kids who didn’t spend as much time in N3 or “deep” sleep as their peers were more likely to have decreased insulin secretion (another indication of higher diabetes risk).

The Research

Researchers studied 62 obese teens. These kids, of diverse ethnic backgrounds, were tested to determine glucose levels and studied during overnight sleep over the course of a day and a half. The stages of sleep were studied in each patient to determine “sleep architecture”—when and how often each sleep stage was entered over the course of the night.

Making Sure Your Teen Gets The Right Amount of Sleep

Three out of four high school students aren’t getting enough sleep, which may explain the rise in type 2 diabetes among teens.

Adolescent diabetes isn’t something to take lightly. If making sure your teen gets a good night’s sleep is the key to avoiding teen diabetes, isn’t it worth a little extra effort?

By the way, just because you’re no longer a teen doesn’t mean you can ignore this advice. Research in adults also shows an association between sleep deprivation and type 2 diabetes risk, according to the same Science Daily article.

Is your teen obese or otherwise at risk for type 2 diabetes? Do you think improving your child’s sleep habits might help?

Author Bio: +Michelle Gordon is a sleep expert who researches and writes about sleep and health, and is an online publisher for the latex mattress specialist