A study in the September 2017 Pediatrics found that children who slept on average one hour less a night had higher risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including higher levels of blood glucose and insulin resistance.
The study, “Sleep Duration and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes,” (published online Aug 15), also confirmed prior research that has shown an association between shorter sleep duration and higher levels of body fat.
Researchers analyzed the body measurements, blood sample results, and questionnaire data from 4,525 children of multi-ethnic descent, aged 9-10 years, in England. Children who slept longer had lower body weight and lower levels of fat mass. Sleep duration was also inversely related to insulin, insulin resistance and blood glucose.
The study did not find an association between sleep duration and cardiovascular risk factors, including blood lipids and blood pressure. The authors conclude that increasing the mean weekday sleep duration (10.5 hours) by half an hour could be associated with a 0.1 kg/m² lower body mass index and a 0.5% reduction in insulin resistance. Reducing these levels may have longer-term implications for reduced type 2 diabetes in later life, the study states.