Do you frequently have nights when you don’t get enough sleep? If you do, then you should be aware of one side effect of this lack of sleep. It is the potential to develop Type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a study of 54,000 adults, reported that those who slept less than 6 hours or more than 9 hours are significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, a meta-analysis of 11 studies reported that the risk of Type 2 diabetes goes up as sleep durations become shorter as well as when they become longer. In fact, the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes was least with regular 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
Finally, four other large studies reported a strong relationship between frequent sleep loss and risk of developing diabetes.
How Lack of Sleep is to Blame
Above all, studies show that those who don’t get enough sleep take up to 40% longer to properly regulate blood sugar after a high-carb meal. As a result, over time, the pancreas are subjected to added stress. And this stress can lead to Type 2 diabetes.
First and foremost, insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate the amount of glucose (also known as sugar) in blood. So, when the pancreas produces less insulin, the blood ends up containing too much sugar. And, this excess blood sugar level, over time, causes diabetes.
Insulin sensitivity refers to how sensitive the body’s cells are in response to insulin. Doctors generally consider high insulin sensitivity to be healthy. Consequently, when insulin sensitivity drops, blood sugar levels rise. Which, in turn, results in weight gain as well as metabolic disorders. Most of all, metabolic disorders can affect sleep habits, with both fatigue and insomnia being the initial symptoms of diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.
How to Tackle the Problem
But there is hope. In fact, a combination of aerobic exercise with resistance training has the potential to prevent or at least delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Study Shows How Aerobics and Resistance Training Helps
Most noteworthy, a study, published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigations, reported that Japanese women who engaged in aerobic workouts and weight resistance training developed Type 2 diabetes less often than those who worked out less frequently.
Description of the Study
Meanwhile, the study included 10,680 women with an average age of 57.8 and a mean BMI of 23.2 kg/m2. Also, the women did 24 minutes of combined aerobic workout and resistance training with 6 minutes of stretching.
Furthermore, the women were divided in four groups based on how frequently they worked out.
- First, women who worked out the most (67-125 sessions over a period of 5 months) had the lowest risk of diabetes
- Next, women in the second-highest group (55-66 sessions over a period of 5 months) also had low risk of diabetes
- Finally, women in the third-highest group (42-54 sessions over a period of 5 months) had similar risks of getting Type 2 diabetes as those in the group that worked out the least (1-41 sessions over a period of 5 months)
Incidentally, for all the women, researchers found a negative linear relationship between training frequency and risk of Type 2 diabetes. Accordingly, the more they worked out the lower the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Also, for a given amount of workout, researchers found that women with lower BMI had a lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than women with higher BMI.
Resistance Training and Aerobics
Next, resistance training increases skeletal muscle mass. As a result, the insulin-mediated blood glucose uptake, which occurs mainly in skeletal muscles, increases. Consequently, the amount of blood glucose falls. On the other hand, aerobic workouts, by burning fat and reducing weight also reduce blood glucose levels. So together, they reduce the risk of getting Type 2 diabetes.
However, it’s important to increase resistance training gradually. Overdoing it can cause muscle sprain and pain, which will temporarily put you back as you recover. Moreover, you can speed up the recovery by massaging your muscles, especially before and after each workout.
In conclusion, getting enough sleep is important to potentially avoid getting Type 2 diabetes. And, one of the ways to be able to sleep well is regular aerobic and strength training workouts. But, if that becomes a burden on your time, you can occasionally augment it by using passive aerobic exercise machines. In fact, these machines are known to help you relax and sleep well.