The body struggles to regulate sugar levels if it is deprived of a normal sleeping pattern, according to the results of a new study, meaning night-time sleep in a comfortable king size bed could have even more health benefits than previously thought.
The study, which was published on April 11th in the Science Translational Medicine journal, showed that its participants were so affected by the lack of normal sleep they began to show symptoms of early diabetes.
Participants underwent 21 days of disrupted sleep. Each day was extended to 28 hours long and they were allowed just 6.5 hours' sleep daily - perhaps a familiar situation for many shift workers. The participants lived in dim light for the duration of the study, mimicking the lives of night workers who sleep through the day.
As a result of these circumstances, researchers noted that after participants ate, their blood sugar levels where significantly higher than they would normally be. In fact, three participants displayed sugar levels that remained so high after eating that they were said to be pre-diabetic.
Study leader Dr Orfeu Buxton said of the findings: "We think these results support the findings from studies showing that, in people with a pre-diabetic condition, shift workers who stay awake at night are much more likely to progress to full-on diabetes than day workers."