LONDON, NNC– A recent study shows children who are not getting enough sleep may develop diabetes more than children who usually get enough sleep. This is because every hour of sleeping children at night is associated with lower weight, more lean muscle mass and little accumulation of sugar in the blood, the researchers said.
Obesity and elevated blood sugar levels are risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body cannot properly utilize or make enough insulin to convert blood sugar into energy.
"This finding suggests that increased sleep duration can offer a simple, low-cost approach to reducing body fat levels and the risk of type 2 diabetes in early life," said the study's senior author Christopher Owen of St. George's University of London, as quoted from Daily Mail.
Diabetes is now a common health problem for children, mostly because millions of children around the world are overweight or obese, not getting enough exercise and eating too much sugary and fatty food.
For the current study, researchers examined survey data on sleep habits and laboratory results from a diabetes risk factor test in 4,525 children in the UK aged nine or 10 years. The average child sleeps 10.5 hours, although sleep duration ranges from eight to 12 hours.
Sleep deprived children in this study tend to have a diabetes risk factor known as insulin resistance when the body does not respond normally to hormones. (*)