Adequate amounts of sleep on a regular basis are very important for all children and teenagers, and a lack of sleep in young ages can have very serious and irreversible negative effects. In particular, according to the findings of a recent study related to teenage obesity and chances to suffer from type 2 diabetes, those teenagers who do not have enough sleep day-by-day have much higher blood sugar levels. This situation can turn into a dangerous one and create a perfect environment for developing type 2 diabetes. Therefore, in order to lower the risks of this serious disease, it is necessary to sleep not less than 8-8.5 hours a day.
62 overweight teenagers from the US aged 12-16 took part in the study. Their overnight sleep patterns were analyzed and compared. At that, the scientists payed attention not only to sleep phases, but also to the glucose levels in the teenagers’ blood. It turned out that those of the teenagers who had inadequate amounts of sleep (either too much sleep or too little sleep) had quite higher levels of sugar in blood compared to the glucose levels in the blood of those teenagers who had the recommended amount of sleep.
Dr. Dorit Koren, a pediatric endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and one of the leaders of the research, comments on the findings as the following: “Our study found to keep glucose levels stable, the optimal amount of sleep for teenagers is 7.5 to 8.5 hours per night.” This amount of sleep in teenagers is associated with the best condition and, in particular, with normal levels of blood glucose linked to lower risks of developing problems and diseases like type 2 diabetes. It was also found out that a lack of sleep in teenagers is associated with lowered insulin secretion.
The experts are planning to go on the experiments and continue studying the sleep patterns of teenagers, this time in their home setting. Financial support for further experiments and studies was received from the officials at the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Research Resources and the Pennsylvania State Tobacco Settlement Fund. Those who are interested in this issue can read more about the findings of this study in one of the September’s issues of the journal Diabetes Care.