blood sugar levels
Sleep super important to regulate blood sugar levels
I like to get my 8 hours sleep a night and find when I don’t I can become irritable and grumpy. How about you?
Dr Mosley discusses in a rest article how sleep affects your blood sugar levels.
He mentions that the link between sleep and memory has been around for a long time and one plausible theory is that during deep sleep your brain moves short-term memories, collected that day, into long-term storage, freeing up space in your brain for more memories. So, if you don’t get enough deep sleep those memories will be lost. Whether this theory is right or not, getting a good night’s sleep (rather than staying up late and cramming) is particularly important for students.
Dr Scott from the University of Leeds, recruited a group of healthy volunteers, fitted them out with activity and continuous glucose monitors to see what was happening to their blood sugar levels every 5 minutes or so. Volunteers were asked to sleep normally for 2 nights (so there was a baseline), have two nights where they went to bed three hours later than normal, followed by two nights where they could sleep as long as they liked.
Dr Moseley and the volunteers really noticed a difference. The nights that they stayed up later affected in a negative way their blood sugar levels! They rose and hungry was a common response.
One volunteer put it, “I wanted lots of biscuits and I didn’t just have one. I’d go for 10. I wrote it down on my diary – 10 custard creams”.
All volunteers whether feasting on biscuits or sticking to their normal diet, had marked increases in blood sugar levels. Some of the previously healthy individuals had levels you might expect to see in borderline type 2 diabetics. The problems resolved after a couple of good nights’ sleep.
As Dr Scott pointed out, there is now a lot of evidence from large studies that suggests people who sleep for less than 7 hours a night are more likely to become obese and develop type 2 diabetes.
Dr Scott said: “We know that when you are sleep-deprived this alters your appetite hormones, making you more likely to feel hungry and less likely to feel full. We also know that when people are sleep-deprived they often crave sweet foods, which could explain the custard cream cravings.
“Also, if you’re awake when you’re not meant to be, you produce more of the stress hormone, cortisol, and that can influence your glucose level, as well, the next day”.
Sleep super important to regulate blood sugar levels in children
A recent meta-analysis, carried out by King’s College London, found that sleep-deprived people consume, on average, an extra 385 kcal per day, which could add up over time. It’s not just that your blood sugar levels soar and your hunger hormones go into overdrive it’s the area of the brain associated with rewards that also becomes over active when you are tired! You may be more prone to reach for those late-night biscuits, ice cream or favourite foods you seek out.
Getting enough sleep is particularly important, not only for adults its crucial for children as well. In another recent study researchers took a small group of pre-school children, aged 3-4 years, all regular afternoon nappers, and not only deprived them of their afternoon nap but also kept them up for about 2 hours past their normal bedtime. The following day the children ate 20% more calories than usual, particularly more sugar and carbohydrates. They were then allowed to sleep as much as they wanted. The following day they still consumed 14 per cent more calories than normal.
We can never under estimate the value of a good night’s rest. Need help in getting and staying asleep? Maybe a consultation with Karen can help.
Read my other blog on the importance of diet on sleep here
Read the article here